Matera is a city that offers a lot to tourists who are interested in learning about this unique place with a millennia-long history that is now considered among the most sought-after and appreciated destinations in Italy.
For those who want to discover the many places the city has to offer with the help of professional guides, it is possible to book several itineraries all of great historical and cultural interest.
The Sassi, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, are the main attraction, but equally interesting are the historic center with its palaces and splendid squares overlooked by numerous fine medieval churches and the Murgia Materana Park with its many rock churches within.
A congruent number of regularly licensed professional tour guides are ready to accompany you on many cultural and eno-gastronomic tours within the city and its beautiful surroundings. >> Guided Tour Reservations
MuseumsMatera is home to the Basilicata Museum Complex which has 10 National Museums and several Archaeological Parks scattered throughout the regional territory. The museums and archaeological areas show the occupation of the territory of Lucania since very remote times both by indigenous populations and those coming from the East relating to the first Neolithic migration which was followed by the Hellenic one.
Domenico Ridola National Archaeological Museum - Matera
The Domenico Ridola National Archaeological Museum was established in 1911 and is the oldest museum in Basilicata. The museum displays collections of naturalistic materials, ethnographic and artistic objects, and above all of precious archaeological finds collected by Ridola himself during the excavations he coordinated in the Matera area concerning the Paleolithic and Neolithic frequentations.
National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata
Also known as the Palazzo Lanfranchi Museum from the seventeenth-century building of the same name that houses it, the museum shows an exhibition itinerary that winds inside the imposing structure in three sections: Sacred Art, Collectibles and Contemporary Art. The core of the collections are works on canvas, wooden sculptures and stone works from the regional heritage. The other section is dedicated to the D’errico Picture Gallery composed of seventeenth and eighteenth century canvases of the Neapolitan school and to the pictorial work of Carlo Levi which includes the large canvas dedicated to his chosen homeland Lucania 61.
Places of cultural interestThe city of Matera was improperly defined in the second half of the twentieth century as a national disgrace due to the terrible living conditions in which the inhabitants of the Sassi were forced to live in spite of themselves after the war. A feeling of shame which was followed by a real cultural removal on the part of the citizens who lived in the Sassi was countered by an idea of revenge and redemption in the new generations which it brought, also thanks to the contributions and exchanges that they were with the artists and intellectuals who arrived in Matera, to reverse the situation and create new and interesting cultural and social experiences in some places of the Sassi which today are a full part of the cultural and social fabric of the city.
MUSMA - Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera
It is the most important museum entirely dedicated to contemporary sculpture in Italy, the only one in the world to have exhibition spaces in caves.
The exhibition area is located in the Sassi and occupies the entire historic building of the Pomarici family. In the underground lower floor the underlying theme is the union between environment and work of art while in the museum spaces of the "main floor" a historical-chronological discussion of contemporary sculpture is developed starting from the masters Medardo Rosso and Arturo Martini, up to the most recent avant-gardes.
Casa Cava is a multipurpose cultural center entirely excavated into the rock located in the Sassi of Matera housed in a fascinating rock complex of the Sasso Barisano. The central body is represented by a pit quarry, a particular quarry system which was used to extract the stone blocks for buildings. Casa Cava is a concert hall, a theatre, an exhibition space and a conference center but also a tourist attraction within the Sassi of Matera. A place to visit where a perfect harmony between beauty and functionality has been achieved.
José Ortega arrived in Matera in October 1972 and came into contact with local artists and intellectuals. He finds it an ideal place to live and work and establish valuable collaborations. In 1974 he purchased a part of this house, which has now become Ortega’s House, a project designed to document the presence of the great Spanish artist in Matera and encourage the rediscovery and valorization of the local artisan tradition.
The exhibition areas host the works created by Ortega during his stay in Matera in the 70s.
Casa Noha is a cultural center of the FAI in the Sassi of Matera. The structure is housed in an apartment donated to the foundation by a family from Matera who lived there until a few decades ago. Inside the building it is possible to view the video “The invisible stones. Extraordinary journey through the history of Matera". The film, projected on the walls, ceilings and floors of the rooms, offers the visitor a complete reconstruction of the history of the city of Matera from its origins to today.