cammino materano walking towards matera
cammino materano walking towards matera

The Way to Matera, through Puglia

Level
3
Distance
96 km
Duration
7 days | 6 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Sep Oct
price from
€ 796
CO2 footprint
92 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSW400

You are walking on a peaceful countryside road, between the dark green fields and the bright yellow sun. The morning air, fresh and crisps, caresses your face. The only sound you can hear is the one of your steps – until suddenly, a sheep bleating at a distance, a shepherd waving with a smile, next to his herd. 

You will reach Matera, a place magical like no other in the world – a little Jerusalem with an all-Italian soul, a permanent living nativity 

In between, the journey: one day olive groves, almond trees and wild trees parade along your way as you walk on an easy, relaxing path – perfect for thinking. The following day you venture trhough bushes, fields and reaches – you get more energetic and adventurous, the body comes alive

You walk through Apulian villages where we are welcomed as  guests of honor, overlooking deep ravines, the old town centers like stone mazes where you get lost just to find yourself again. 

At the end of the dayyou reach a place, but mostly some people: a lively, welcoming humanity that makes you feel more and more at home. 

The Via Materana is a walking meditation, an itinerary that connects you with the ancestral, simple life pleasures. Like a cool beer and a cialedda (a typical bread salad  - soft, soaked bread with fresh vegetables, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil)  in the shade of Matera’s Cathedral. 

Highlights

  • Walk on the ancient tracks through olive, almond and cherry trees;
  • Feel at home with the welcoming of the locals
  • Visit the Sassi in Matera, UNESCO heritage from 1993 and European Capital of Culture 2019
  • Visit the less known gems such as Altamura and Gravina di Puglia

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Bari

Arrive in Bari

Your trip starts in Bari, a city full of life and surprises that is often unjustly overlooked by most tourists. Enjoy a walk along the waterfront, lined with art noveau buildings, before taking your time to visit the two main sights: the Castello Svevo-Normanno, overlooking the city center and the Adriatic Sea, and the Church of San Nicola (one of Italy's finest example of Romanic architecture, and a pilgrims' destination). In the evening, enjoy a stroll in the lively Bari Vecchia quarter, to find the real spirit of the city.

Day 2

From Cassano dell Murge to Santeramo, 21,5 Km

From Cassano dell Murge to Santeramo, 21,5 Km

This morning a taxi takes you to Cassano, o start your walk. You first venture into the Mesola forest where you pass various oak trees and Aleppo pines, amidst the sounds of cicadas and muffled bird songs. 

Your journey is full of changes:  dirt roads, dry stone walls, small pine forests with shadey reprieves and fields filled with sheep. 

Today you reach Santeramo in Colle: here you can sit in the piazza and enjoy a granita, while the main street comes alive in front of your eyes. You have the opportunity to watch the village cultural circles meet in small groups.  The town is famous for its butcheries – just choose the meat cut that you’d like and they will cook it for you on an open-air oven. 

Distance: 21,5 km

Elevation gain: +475/-299 m

Day 3

From Santeramo to Altamura, 24,4 Km

From Santeramo to Altamura, 24,4 Km

Your playing field today is the Alta Murgia National Park: here in the spring, the fields are colored with wildflowers, while in Summer it resembles a lunar landscape with warm shades of burnt grass.  On your way, you pass white farm buildings and “jazzi” (corrals for animals), archaeological remains and caves that contain ancient frescoes.  

Today you arrive in Altamura.  Altamura is a slice of Apulian life – the main street coming alive every morning with families strolling, elders chatting on the piazza benches, and ovens baking the local durum flour DOP bread with never-ending passion, day after day. 

A visit you can’t miss is to the Archaeological Museum: it’s dedicated to the Altamura man, a well-preserved skeleton of a Neanderthal man found in a cave just outside of town.  The man will rest in the cave forever because taking him out of the cave would certainly destroy the delicate bones, however,  the museum houses a life-size reproduction. 

Distance: 24,4 km

Elevation gain: +300/-337 m

Day 4

From Altamura to Gravina in Puglia, 20 km

From Altamura to Gravina in Puglia, 20 km

Today you walk in the open countryside of sunflower and grain fields, herbal gardens and open pastures

The name Gravina, the village that we reach today, means canyon: the city is literally built at the edge of a large canyon, an incredible view to enjoy after a visit to the beautiful Cathedral. 

To understand the history of Gravina one must "go underground". Underneath the modern city lies a hidden city, dug through the centuries in the soft tufa rock.  Cellars that stored wine, rock churches, stables…an underground world to explore with young local volunteers who, if you decide to take part in their guided tour, will passionately lead you to the discovery of this underground world

Distance: 20 km

Elevation gain: +300/-337 m

Day 5

From Gravina in Puglia to Borgo Picciano/transfer to Masseria, 10 Km

From Gravina in Puglia to Borgo Picciano/transfer to Masseria, 10 Km

Leaving Gravina you cross a stone bridge which spans an immense ravine that gives the city its name.  You catch your breath when you realize you are walking on Via Appia, the ancient road that connected Rome to the important Brindisi port. 

As you continue our path leads us to the Archaeological area of Botromagno where you meet Giuseppe and follow him to his house, your home for tonight. An enchanting place, a farm where the chemical-free production follows the natural rhythm of seasons – one among the first farms in Basilicata to choose a natural way of farming. 

Here you can relax on the covered porch, watching the daily farm activies as well as the animals who live here wandering in the fields. You will relish our dinner based on products grown just a few meters from our table. 

Distance: 10 km

Elevation gain: +151/-236 m

Day 6

From Lago San Giuliano to Matera, 16 km

From Lago San Giuliano to Matera, 16 km

The last stage of our walk, the last steps towards Matera

After a transfer to the starting point of our walk,you say "good-bye" to Giovanni’s family and set off. You follow forests and soft hills in an ondulating landscape of cultivated fields taking us to Matera. If you’ve never been here, you will find that the mystery of Matera lingers until the very moment we reach our first glimpse and see the Sassi neighborhoods. Cave-like houses carved in the rock, built one on top of another. A heritage of a past that was first defined “the shame of Italy” only later to become an Unesco World Heritage Site and the setting to several movies. 

Matera is a real open air museum, a maze of bed and breakfasts, artisanal workshops and little restaurants, overlooking a deep ravine. 

Matera is the European Capital of Culture of 2019, and this will be a year of celebration; the city will be lively and festive, alight in its every corner.  Join the celebration; you got to the end of your adventure and this party is also for you! 

 

Distance: 16 km

Elevation gain: +387/-107 m

Day 7

Arrivederci Matera!

Arrivederci Matera!

After breakfast, your travel is ended. 

Details

Is this for me?


A beautiful itinerary through the lesser known side of Puglia and towards Matera, a city that is unique in the world. This trip starts from the sea but continues inland, through little-known, remote villages and its lively, welcoming communities. The hotels are comfortable, but sometimes very simple. The daily walks are not very demanding but quite long, and require some preparatory training. 

Included


What is included

  • 6 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • 1 dinners at Masseria la Fiorita
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • transfers as described in the day by day program
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary in digital form, app
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
  • official camino guidebook, shipped to the first hotel
  • travel documentation in printed form (maps and detailed description of the itinerary), shipped to the first hotel

 

Accommodation


Hotel Adria - Bari
B&B I Bannisti - Santeramo
Hotel San Nicola - Altamura
Relais al Bastione - Gravina di Puglia
Masseria La Fiorita - Borgo Piciano
Matera - Hotel I Sassi

When to travel


Throughout Central-South Italy you can expect temperatures between 10° and 25°C in spring and autumn and up to 35°C in July and August. Mornings can be chilly but they quickly warm up as the day goes by. Showers are common in early spring and from September on and throughout the autumn, although not every day, and they tend to be either short and intense or prolonged but light. Because you are by the sea, the sea breeze tends to make the long summer days less hot. The weather can change very quickly and you must be prepared for rain, mist, wind, fog (and even hail or snow at higher elevations) –especially in spring and autumn. When windy or walking at altitude, temperatures can be much cooler. You should always carry a fleece/warm clothing in addition to awind breaker and/or rain jacket and, when cool, gloves and a warm hat.

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


Bari:

Railway train station Bari Centrale

Bari airport

By car: highway A14 from Bologna to Bari

 

Matera:

from Matera to Bari you can take a train. Timetable at this link:

https://ferrovieappulolucane.it/

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486
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