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.
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.
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 km, 5 hrs, 475m total ascent, 299m total descent
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, 6 hrs, 300m total ascent, 337m total descent
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: 19,8 km, 5 hrs, 300m total ascent, 420m total descent
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, 3 hours, 151m total ascent, 236m total descent
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: 15 km, 4 hours, 387m total ascent, 107m total descent
After breakfast, your travel is ended.
Railway train station Bari Centrale
By car: highway A14 from Bologna to Bari
from Matera to Bari you can take a train. Timetable at this link:
What is included
· Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
· luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
. transfer from Bari to Cassano
. transfer from Borgo Picciano to Masseria la Fiorita
. transfer from Masseria la Fiorita to Lago San Giuliano
· maps and detailed description of the itinerary
. 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
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
. Single room supplement
· Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
· everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.
I have just finished walking the Cammino Materano and I would like to tell you our impressions on the trip. We have appreciated your professionalism and the attention you put into the organisation of the travel. Everything went smoothly and the info material you provided, together with the map on my mobile, has been very helpful. The path is well marked and luckily the weather has been very kind to us. It has been a wonderful holiday and we wanted to share our satisfaction with you (Bruna Z., 2019)