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Matera & Alberobello

from £1319
Sassi and Trulli, perhaps the most distinctive accommodation to be had in Italy, both are steeped in history and folklore. 

Sassi and Trulli, perhaps the most distinctive accommodation to be had in Italy, both are steeped in history and folklore. Imagine an early morning stroll through the Sassi district with the warming southern Italian sun just appearing over the skyline. Or waking in a Trullo and looking up at the bizarre conical ceiling above your head. Unique experiences. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays. 

We start on the high plains of Basilicata just across the border from Apulia. The town of Matera, cultural capital of Europe in 2019 is an elegant, cultured place. Steeped in history, the famous sassi cave dwellings have been inhabited since the earliest of times.  Great changes have been made recently, the caves are beginning to turn into hotels and private residences. For an idea of how things were, consult Carlo Levi’s famous book, Christ Stopped at Eboli. We explore the town and the sassi but also walk the Gravina valley to the south of town.

We transfer the short distance to Alberobello to discover one of the most distinctive skylines in Italy. The conical roofs of the trulli buildings, in which we stay, dot the landscape for miles around.  Each room has all facilities and a front door that opens on to the street. The cafe restaurant Terre Madre where we will take breakfast and sometimes dinner is also close at hand. You will enjoy a special experience that perhaps gives the best possible flavour of this unique town. On arrival we will explore the town with a local guide. On our three days we will explore the local area including the local towns of Martina Franca and Locorotondo, famed for its wine. We will also walk the local canal, an ideal place to spot butterflies and wild flowers in season.

Holiday Highlights

  • Stay in the iconic conical Trulli buildings in Alberobello.
  • See the Sassi caves and beautiful architecture of Matera.
  • View the rock churches of the Gravina Valley an added interest to a great walk.
  • Be surprised by the elegance of Martina Franca and Locorotondo.
  • In season enjoy the flowers and butterflies whilst walking on the Canale de Pirro.
  • Take a visit to Bari, Southern Italy's second city and resting place of Santa Claus. 
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Gatwick to Bari (British Airways or Easyjet)
      Airport transfers
      Half board en suite accommodation
      Local English speaking guides in Matera and Alberobello
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4/SS

  1. Day 1

    We fly to Bari Airport and transfer approximately one hour to Matera by private coach.

  2. Day 2

    Today we will spend the day exploring Matera. We have a morning with a local professional guide to explain what we are seeing. The town is famed for its 'Sassi' caves, inhabited by the poorest of the 'Materani' up until the 1960's and now slowly being renovated. The town is spectacularly situated above the Gravina River gorge. There are many viewpoints from which to enjoy the views. In the afternoon we walk to Madonna delle Virgini. The church dates back to the eighteenth century, is carved into the rock and is the only rock church still open for worship. 6km; 2hrs

  3. Day 3

    We will walk on the plateau above the Gravina Valley to enjoy ever changing views of the river valley and wonderful wild flowers in season. Our walk will take us by churches carved from the rock. These will probably be locked so bring a torch to get an idea of the interiors. Expect to cover about 8km over the ground with ascent/descent of 150m.

  4. Day 4

    Today we transfer to Alberobello. The transfer should be about 1hr 30mins by coach. On arriving in Alberobello we will be shown to our accommodation staying in individual trulli buildings. These must surely be some of the most characterful accommodations in the Ramblers Walking Holidays brochure. After lunch we will explore the town with a local guide. We will have dinner in a local restaurant.

  5. Day 5

    The local area being predominantly limestone has always had issues with water supply. To combat this a network of irrigation canals were built in the early 20th century to bring water from Basilicata, the neighbouring province. As well as irrigating the fertile farmland these canals, which are covered, also make for excellent walking. Our walk along the Canale de Pirro provides a generally flat walk through undisturbed nature and offers excellent opportunities to view birdlife, flowers and butterflies. We can walk along the flat for 13km. The walk takes about 3hrs. Later it is possible to arrange a visit to the very impressive Castellana caves. The beauty of the caves is well renowned. The tour winds along a distance of 3 km, a unique guided tour of the caves to more than 60 meters deep in an amazing scenario made of stalactites, stalagmites, concretions, incredible shapes, fossils, canyons and caves with fantastic names.

  6. Day 6

    We will spend the day walking in the local countryside or exploring Martina Franca and Lococrotondo. Martina Franca is a historic baroque city to the south of Alberobello. It takes its name from San Martino, the patron saint, and the tax exemptions granted to its inhabitants by Philip as Prince of Taranto. ('franca' meaning free). Locorotondo is known for its wines and for its circular structure which is now the historical centre, from which derives its name, which means 'Round place'. It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.  There is a pleasant stroll between the two towns of about 7km taking 2 hrs with minimal gradients. Or for anyone that prefers the train runs between both.

  7. Day 7

    We will continue our exploration of the local walks and villages. An excellent choice of walk is out from Alberobello to Barsento Abbey. The walk takes us passed fields of olives, fruit trees and vineyards to the 6th century Barsento Abbey. It is gentle terrain with minimal ascent and descent. The total distance covered will be about 13km.

  8. Day 8

    Depending on flight times we may have some free time to spend in Alberobello before we transfer back to Bari Airport for our flight back to the UK. 

Travel Details

  • Flights: Gatwick-Bari (c3hrs), (British Airways or Easyjet)
  • Arrival transfer by road c.1hr15mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Most low-cost carriers also have extra legroom seats. 
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

The Charming Trulli buildings...

...are truly a unique form of accommodation! Each room is actually its own little building so it really doesn't make any difference if you book a twin, double or have a room for sole use.

As you step out the room your hallway is actually the quiet streets of Alberobello, each room not being far from the next so no one will feel alone.

Every room is just as equipped as a hotel room but with a few extras. Each room has eu-suite a kitchenette, small sitting area, tea making facilities, free Wi-Fi and a hairdryer.

Breakfasts are taken at the nearby and atmospheric Terre Madre restaurant a Trullo conversion Il Trullo Antico aswell as one dinner the rest of our stay in Alberobello we will dine out at local restaurants sampling the local food and hospitality.

The historic Hotel Sassi...

...certainly a one off hotel. It is made up of  a series of dwellings spread out over an area of Matera, some of them built and some dug out of the rock with some rooms/dwellings going back to the 1500s.

It could not be better located with Matera's main square, Piazza Vittorio Veneto just a short distance away. The entire complex is surrounded by panoramic terraces with a view of the Cathedral and the old quarter.

The hotel has breathtaking panoramic views and guarantees a peaceful stay away from traffic as it is in a pedestrianised area. Keep an eye out in April and September for their resident Kestrel who makes the hotels rooftop its home.

With only 35 rooms, each one unique and are equipped with heating/air conditioning, free wi-fi , telephone, minibar, hair-dryer and flat screen TV.

It is a so-called “albergo diffuso” that is to say, a hotel that is spread out on different levels. Some rooms face an outdoor area/courtyard known as “vicinato” (the neighbourhood). Not to worry thought the rooms and common areas are easily connected by an indoor lift.

Spending time at the Hotel Sassi is a completely new experience only to be followed up by our next unique accommodation in Alberobello.