Unlikely Matera — a city in Basilicata that is still mostly ignored by tourists — turned out to be our favorite stop on an epic road trip we took last summer through Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria with our then 15 month old son. Originally, I had reserved a room for us at the atmospheric Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita.
Excited to share the news with my husband, I pulled up the website.
He skimmed for a second and then with a definitive, “Absolutely not,” began to rattle off excerpts from the description that illustrated my obvious lapse in Mommy-judgement: “Uneven cobblestone floors…dozens of candles…impossible to find…no lights.”
Definitely the sort of hotel we’d stay at before our son was born (no walls-awesome!) but perhaps not so toddler friendly after all — especially for a fairly new walker.
Luckily, the new search turned up an even better option – and possibly the best hotel room we have ever stayed in throughout our many years of travel – Room 210 at Palazzo Gattini (aka, their Pool Suite.)
The suite comes with a private swimming pool overlooking the ancient Sassi and a terrace large enough to host a cocktail party for 25 of your closest friends. With just twenty rooms, the hotel is stylish, elegant and comfortable. Best of all, its location in the new town meant we didn’t have to navigate the sassi with our stroller – a definite plus.
Our room only added to our already glowing impression of the city of Matera. In the mornings, we’d wake up and dip into our pool before breakfast. At night we’d put the baby to bed, open a bottle of local Aglianico and stargaze out on the terrace. By the end of 3 days, it was clear that we’d made the right choice. But just to make sure I knew it, my husband leaned over to remind me, “And you wanted to stay in a cave…”
Getting there: Flight to Bari, 2 hour drive to Matera
Address: 14 Piazza Duomo, Matera, Italy 75100
Phone: 39 0835 33 4358