The inland city of Matera in Southern Italy is a total hidden gem. The under-the-radar region doesn’t get the attention of other Southern Italian favorites like Naples, Amalfi, Puglia, or Sicily, and has managed to keep its frozen-in-time feeling authentically intact. When Go Ahead Tours staffer Tisha recently spent two days in the city on our Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily tour, she had the chance to experience all the history, flavors, and culture firsthand.
It’s no wonder why Matera was chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and its well-preserved homes and centuries-old cave dwellings give it a feeling unlike anywhere else I’ve ever traveled. Fun fact: The unique landscape and cave dwellings have made it a film destination recently, including Wonder Woman! I was on a Food & Wine Tour, so the flavors of the region really stood out to me. There are a ton of delicious, authentic food options.
On my free evening, I ate dinner with our Tour Director Daniele and a couple other travelers at Trattoria Lucana (located at Via Lucana, 48, Matera). We shared a family-style meal and it was truly incredible. We were the only table speaking English in the restaurant, which I loved! Thanks to our Italian Tour Director and the great service, we had no issue with the language, and every single dish we tried was fantastic. It felt like a truly local experience.
While I can only speak for Trattoria Lucana, which I highly recommend, my lovely Tour Director and bus driver Salvatore had some other local recommendations for where to eat dinner in Matera: Soul Kitchen, Dedalo, and Osteria al Casale.
And since tasting Italian culture goes beyond a traditional dinner, here are a few other names to note when traveling to Matera, Italy:
Via Fiorentini, 66, Matera
I Vizi Degli Angeli (an “ice cream laboratory”—hard to resist!)
Via Ridola, 36 Matera
Vicolo Cieco (a wine bar)
Via Fiorentini, 74, Matera
Birrificio 79 (a microbrewery)
Via Beccherie, 54, Matera
Have you ever traveled to Matera, Italy? Tell us your favorite local spots in the comments below!