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Exploring Pulglia, Italy with a car for 3 days and visited some amazing cities!

I am very glad that Facebook eksists. There you can see friends travelling all over the world and you can get many tips about where to go. And exactly this is what I did last year when a friend went for a holiday in Italy. She visited a lot of amazing cities and we could see many nice photos. And when we arrived in Italy I contacted her to get her best tips where to go.

There is one city though she didn`t told me about. (and she was sorry about that later 🙂 ) That was Matera. A little bit far from where we stayed, about 160 km to drive from Gallipolli. But we (I) decided to take this trip over two days and to have a night on a hotel in Matera.

First we took the train to Lecce to rent a car. Not a fancy train here, and it went really slow, max speed was 50 km/h. We had to walk from the trainstation in Lecce to the car rental company, but that worked fine, not too far away and the weather was good.

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With a history of continuous occupation dating back to the Palaeolithic (10th millennium BC), it is renowned for its rock-cut urban core, whose twin cliffside zones are known collectively as the Sassi.

Matera has gained international fame for its ancient town, the “Sassi di Matera”. The Sassi originated in a prehistoric troglodyte settlement, and these dwellings are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in what is now Italy. The Sassi are habitations dug into the calcareous rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Apulia. Many of them are really little more than small caverns, and in some parts of the Sassi a street lies on top of another group of dwellings. The ancient town grew up on one slope of the rocky ravine created by a river that is now a small stream, and this ravine is known locally as “la Gravina”. In the 1950s, as part of a policy to clear the extreme poverty of the Sassi, the government of Italy used force to relocate most of the population of the Sassi to new public housing in the developing modern city.

Matera is also known from the James Bond movie “No Time to Die”.

We booked a room from Cave Rooms Sassi and our contactperson sent us to a carpark and explained where we should go to find this place. We passed a couple of Squares until we found the room we had booked. It was build inside a cave. (photo later)

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And Matera, what an amazing place! You can walk around for hours, maybe days. Nunzia from Cave Rooms Sassi met us and showed us our room. He also suggested some local restaurants.

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We went out for lunch, but it became a dinner for us, it was too much!! We went to Scipipi Bistrot as suggested from Nunzio. The food was amazing, but the first dish, the antipasti, would be enough for us. It was also the most expensive dinner on this journey.

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The main dish was lasagna and some pasta.

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After lunch/dinner, we had a walk around town before it got dark. This is inside one of the many churches in Matera.

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A lot of narrow streets and MANY steps!

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One of many squares.

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Until recently people lived in caves here, and it was also possible to visit one of them, but they were closed in the evening, and also next morning.

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About 60.000 people lives in Matera. And there were a lot of tourists already in early March.

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The best thing to do here in Matera is just to walk around, because if you are looking for a special place it is hard to find it. Matera lies on two hills. So we stayed on the top of the first one, so if we walked to the other side of the town, we had to go down, then up again, then down and then up again… I don`t know…. it has never been that hard to follow the map!!

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Matera lies on the right bank of the Gravina river, whose canyon forms a geological boundary between the hill country of Basilicata (historic Lucania) to the south-west and the Murgia plateau of Apulia to the north-east. The city began as a complex of cave habitations excavated in the softer limestone on the gorge’s western, Lucanian face.

If we had more time we would have walked the trail over to the other side of the canyon, but on Alltrails.com it says it was closed, so we didn`t check it out. In the bottom there is a suspension bridge.

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In the evening there is shadow on this side of the town so we decided to walk back here next morning.

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We stayed on the other side of this hill.

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But there is streets in all directions, narrow, and stairs, and you change the direction many time, and it was so confusing when we tried to walk back to the room.

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Church of Saint Mary of Idris. The church was not open when we were here, but a lot of people walked around on this huge rock.

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And next to Saint Mary of Idris you can see Church of San Pietro Caveoso. Walk through the gate on the right side of this church and you will arrive in the most interesting part of the town.

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Some cities

where I have been

Matera and

the one that

he smiles at me more

the one that

I see even better

through a veil

of poetry and

of melancholy

(google translate)

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step by step….

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We thought the church with the clock tower was nearby our room…

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It was not… we walked an walked…

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But finally we got back to our room. It was really hard to find. We had a short break in our room before we went out again to watch all the lights.

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It was too dark for photos, but it was nice walking around and see all the people in the streets. It has been a long time since we have been into a busy place like this. It started to get cold so we walked back to the room to watch some tv. (Friday evening)

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Before 8 am we were outside to have a walk in the morning sun. We had to check out around 10 so thats why we went out that early.

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We didn`t see that many cats here, but I guess this house was a cat shelter, it was a lot of them (not interested in us)

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A lot of steps, down and then up again. Really amazing in the morning sun!

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The sun makes the sceenery totally different from the day before.

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We walked through the gate on the right side of the church to see all the cave houses. It is strange thinking about people lived here as late as the mid 1900.

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Astor was flying the drone to take some shoots.


You can see the more modern town behind the old town.




The oldest part of Matera


In the fifties the Italian government forced the people here to move to the newer part of the town, but people still wanted to live in the caves. They lived here with the whole family and animals inside the cave.


The gate to this part of old town was closed so we couldn`t go closer to the caves.





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Matera looks a lot like Jerusalem looked like in the antiks, thats why a lot of movies has been filmed here. Unfortunately I haven`t seen any of them.


I started with a winter jacket, but it was really nice in the morning sun.

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We took another direction back to the room this time, so we knew where we were 🙂

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This is almost the view from our room (outside). You can see the clocktower in the middle of the photo, far away…. and we thought we lived close to it!

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Here is a video from Matera:

We checked out from Sassi Cave Rooms and we went to find our car. Our next stop was:


If Matera looked like it was from a fairytale, Alberobello looked even more like it was from a fairytale. It took us about one hour to drive between theese to cities. We didn`t use the high way. One – because you will see much more if you drive the local roads. Two – we didn`t wanna pay to drive on the highway.

 Alberobello has 10,237 inhabitants (2022) and is famous for its unique trullo buildings. The trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Alberobello is one of The most beautiful villages of Italy.

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A first occupation of the area started only in the early sixteenth century on the impulse of the Count of Conversano Andrea Matteo III Acquaviva d’Aragona. He allowed about forty peasant families from Noci to settle here and cultivate the land, with the obligation to give him the tenth of the crops.

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Alberobello is the only inhabited center with an entire district of trulli, and is considered to be the cultural capital of the trulli of the Itria Valley.

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In 1635 his successor, Count Giangirolamo II (1600–1665) erected an inn with a tavern and an oratory and started the urbanization of the forest with the construction of few small houses. The expansion of the urban area was helped by the abundance of limestone, karst and calcareous sedimentary, and by the permission of the count to build houses only with dry walls without the use of mortar, which would become the peculiar trulli. This obligation to have houses built with dry stones was an expedient of the count to avoid paying taxes to the Spanish viceroy of the Kingdom of Naples. The centre of Alberobello was built on the streets of the ancient river Cana, where is now the largo Giuseppe Martelotta.

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What a stunning place! We should really have had more time here!

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This was on a Saturday and a lot of people were walking around in this nice weather.

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People are still living here so many houses are private.

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And in some of the trulli you could find small shops or restaurants.

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We didn`t used that much time here but it was so lovely walking around in theese streets.

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Private property.

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I would really recommend you to visit Alberobello if you are coming to Italy!

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Here is a video from Alberobello:

After Alberobello we drove to the next village:


It was just around the corner and it was still som trulli to see on the way. Here is the view from the square.

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I am not sure what was the case… it was a Saturday, and it was at lunchtime. But it was hardly no one to see! Really quiet place. So we had a short walk around and a stop at a small restaurant for a light lunch.

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Ancient ritual with witch-shaped dolls are suspended high across the streets of the Italian city of Locorotondo, on Easter, the witches are burned.

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We found this cat in a window, he was looking at people passing by. I guess he is dreaming about beeing outside!

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After Locorotondo it was time to visit the last village of the day:


Ostuni is known as the “white town” and it was a nice place to walk around on a Saturday afternoon.

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Colonna di Sant’Oronzo, build in 1771. It was recently dismantled and restored due to poor conditions caused by atmospheric agents.

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Not very old this one. A little bit afraid of us, he sat in a stair we walked so it was not easy for him to escape.

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The square

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On the way to the church on the top of the hill in the old town.

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At the top of the old town. It was hard to get a good photo of the church.

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Look at that roof!!

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Do you have an old chair you don`t use anymore? Don`t throw it away!

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Here is a drone shoot of Ostuni!


On the other side of the city.


It was easy to find the way back to the carpark, because of this Ferris wheel, just next to the car park.

Thank you so much Ragna for all the good tips on the way!

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Then we drove back to the boat and made an Italian inspired evening meal. We had a stop in some supermarkets to find foccacia, and we found it! But it was not good 🙁

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Two days like this… ah… it is busy. My head was full, and it was nice to come back to a quiet boat. The next day we took a roadtrip on the coastline at the heel of the Italian shoe. More about that next time!

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