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TravelValue: Matera, Italy (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Matera, Italy






Matera is a city that sits atop a large hill and is also a province in the region of Basilicata in Southern Italy. Also known as "la Città Sotterranea" (the Subterranean City), Matera is known for being one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In its historic center, called "Sassi", are ancient structures built into the cliffs and is where Passion of the Christ and other movies have been filmed. It is a one of a kind place that should not be missed.
The city is reasonably large and the town center surrounding the Sassi di Matera is picturesque with beautiful buildings, cobblestone streets, restaurants, and shops for all tastes.
Stay near the Sassi di Matera for an easy stroll into the old city to explore the many stone streets and stairways connecting the ancient city and its over 200 churches.












If you have the time, visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Domenico Ridola, a cultural center and museum (Via Domenico Ridola 24) to see relics and reproductions from area excavations going back many centuries. At just €2 to enter, it is one of the best values in town and a great way to spend a couple of hours.


Things To Do


Top-Notch, Not So Little Museum Tells The Archeological History Of Ancient Matera

Museo Archeologico Nazionale Domenico Ridola   
Via Domenico Ridola 24
75100 Matera, Italy
Phone number +39 0835 310058
Website: MuseoArcheologicoMatera
Prices: €€€€
 
A hidden gem and excellent value in central Matera, it looks more like a bank than museum from the outside and entry is just €2 (teachers get a discount with ID). The museum is very well laid out so you can follow a single path rather than bounce back and fourth across and between rooms as is the case at many larger museums (the Smithsonian in DC and the Met in NYC come to mind).

For the minimal fee, you will find an abundance of archeological relics and remains dating back to the 6th Century B.C. as well as recreations of village life and cave paintings from that time in this 105 year old museum.

A great way to spend an hour or two on a blustery winter day as we did during the worst snowstorm in Matera over the past 60 years, you can leisurely stroll through at your own pace without hectic crowds hovering in front of you. The day we were there, we saw only one or two other couples in the museum the entire time. There is a room of to your right as you descend the stairs toward the exit with a snack and coffee machine which was quite reasonable (caffe latte, espresso, cappuccino, or hot chocolate were just €.40 each).

The staff are very friendly and helpful, but their English is limited and all exhibits as well as their App (with slideshows and verbal descriptions accessed via the web with a QR code reader) are only in Italian. Lack of English descriptions and translations were the only thing keeping me from giving them a perfect score.


CombatCritic Gives Museo Archeologico Nazionale Domenico Ridola 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Nine Bombs Equates To:

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Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie

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Read Chris S.'s review of Museo Archeologico Nazionale Domenico Ridola on Yelp
Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Matera, Italy: Top-Notch, Not So LIttle Museum Tells The Archeological History Of Ancient Matera

Key Words: Museo Archeologico Nazionale Domenico Ridola, Domenico, Ridola, Matera, Basilicata, museum, museo, archeologico, archeological, archeology, Italy, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: OOH-RAH = "U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm"



Accommodations

Great Little B&B - Central, Close To Sassi, Hospitable And Reasonably Priced

B&B Pignatelli
Bed & Breakfast
Vico 1st Passarelli 10
75100 Matera
Italy
Phone number: +39 334 3656186
Website: bebpignatellimatera.com
Prices:€€€€
In Matera, Italy, there is a great little B&B that is central, close to the world famous Sassi di Matera (where Passion of the Christ and other films were made) and UNESCO World Heritage Site with owners who are extremely hospitable and is very reasonably priced.
We found this little gem on an international Booking website after a reservation at another Matera hotel fell through and are we glad we did! Not only did we save over €70, we had parking next to the building, breakfast included, and were even invited to lunch with the owners.
In a large nondescript building in central Matera above a coffee bar is a small B&B with three lovely, modern guest rooms with en suite bathrooms with a rate of just €70 per night, including breakfast. The building is very safe (as is Matera in general) with a locked exterior gate and door to the building before climbing one flight of stairs to the large apartment (Not handicapped accessible - no elevator is building). There is a medium size kitchen/living room as you walk in with a sofa, table and chairs for 6-8, and a TV with (Italian) cable. The three rooms are just off of the main living area.
Our room was tastefully decorated with a iron canopy bed, a sleeper sofa, decent size wardrobe, nightstands, a TV, and a chair (no desk). Not big by American standards, there was plenty of room to move around and the queen size bed was very comfortable. The European rolling exterior shutters are electronically controlled for easy use and provide complete darkness for those, like me, who are sensitive to light when they sleep. The room was on the back of the building and extremely quiet. The attached bathroom was of decent size with a large shower, toilet, bidet and sink - everything you need for a comfortable stay. Wi-Fi was free and fast.

Breakfast was traditionally Italian with coffee as you like it (espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte) or tea, cornetti (Italian croissants filled with cream and dusted with sugar or other sweet toppings), water, juice and fruit. The owners are very flexible so you can sleep-in if you like and still eat breakfast when you awake. They are extremely kind people, inviting us for lunch (at no extra charge) every day we were there, even driving us several miles across town to buy tire chains after the worst snowstorm in 60 years hit the city, even though they had to drive their son an hour away to catch a train for Milan to return to college for a critical test.

The neighborhood is strictly residential, but central and a short 5-10 minute walk to the Sassi, restaurants, shopping, and transportation. An excellent value, the owners went above and beyond in making us feel welcome and comfortable during our stay. The building's maintenance man even put my chains on the car for me when we were leaving!

CombatCritic Gives B&B Pignatelli 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF FAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


"Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique, we said 'fuck it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH! - CombatCritic


Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Read Chris S.'s review of B&B Pignatelli on Yelp


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Matera, Italy: Great Little B&B - Central, Close To Sassi, Hospitable And Reasonably Priced

Key Words: B&B, bed, breakfast, Italy, Matera, Sassi, Sassi di Matera, cave, UNESCO, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, hotel, guest, house, Yelp, Booking.com, Basilicata




Restaurants


Great Food, Good Prices And A View Of Sassi Di Matera

Il Terrazzino

Vicolo San Giuseppe 7
75100 Matera, Italy
Phone number: +39 0835 334119
Website: ilterrazzino.org
Prices: €€€€

Off of Piazza Vittorio Veneto on a small alley on the east side of the piazza, you will find Il Terazzino. Go down the winding stairs to this restaurant and pizzeria of very good quality and reasonable prices with a terrace view of Matera's famous (UNESCO) sassi where Passion of the Christ and other movies were filmed.
A large, nicely appointed interior set in into the cliff has ancient vaulted ceilings and several rooms with plenty of space for 30-40 tables. We were warmly welcomed by the owner who took our order because the servers had not yet arrived. We ordered the house wine (€3.50 per 1/2 litre), a deep red served slightly above room temperature and a good value.



The Tourist Menu is just €18 and includes primo (pasta or soup), secondo (meat dish), and contorno (fries or salad), mineral water, and dessert (spumoni or fruit). I had the Cavatelli alla Boscaiola (€8 ala carte), fresh pasta in a tomato sauce with mushrooms and ham served with grated goat cheese to top it with. The serving was healthy and the flavor delicious. The pasta could have been a bit warmer in order to melt the goat cheese after mixing, but, otherwise, it was a good selection. I also had the Salsiccia di Maiale Arrosto (roasted pork sausage - €8 ala carte) and a side of fries. The sausage was a bit spicy, but flavorful and well cooked, and the fries plentiful, large, and hot.
My wife had the Pizza Ai (Quattro) Formaggi (€7.50) with mozzarella, grana padana, gorgonzola, and emmenthal cheeses and without tomato sauce. The pizza was very well done and comparable quality of those in Naples where pizza was born with plenty of cheese and a thin, yet firm, crust.

We ate extremely well for under €30, the service was excellent and the interior roomy and rustic, and would not hesitate to return in the future.

CombatCritic Gives Il Terrazino 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Eight Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Read Chris S.'s review of Il Terrazzino on Yelp

MENU









Title: Matera, Italy: Great Food, Good Prices And A View Of Sassi Di Matera

Key Words: Il Terrazino, il, terrazino, Matera, Italy, Sassi di Matera, Sassi, pizza, pizzeria, view, centro, Italia, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: WTFO! = "What-The-Fuck ... Over!"


14th
Via XX Settembre 14
75100 Matera, Italy
Phone number: +39 329 5974869
Prices: €€€€

It was a cold night, snow falling and wind howling when we found ourselves in an alley across from San Francesco di Paola church in Matera's town center not far from their famous Sassi and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the most snow (2+ feet) Matera had since 1956, 60 years ago and most restaurants in town were closed for the holiday (Befana) weekend. To find 14th, enter the alley and follow the signs toward Pizzeria Da Mario, but instead of turning right, turn left and 14th will be the last place on the right ... burgers, sandwiches, cheap beer, friendly service and more. You will not find it otherwise.
A large cavernous place, they have wooden booths, tables and chairs downstairs near the bar and more tables up in the loft that has been erected in the center of the room. They serve mostly hamburgers and sandwiches and a decent selection of tap and bottled beers as well as wine and spirits.

I ordered a 1/2 litre Edinger Hefeweizen (€5) and a Classic Burger (€8) with a thick 1/3 pound beef patty, cheese, caramelized onion, bacon, lettuce. tomato and BBQ sauce (I sub'ed mayo for the BBQ sauce) on a big homemade sesame seed bun and accompanied by handcut fries. The beer was cold with a frothy head and the burger, amazingly enough, excellent even though the bacon was more like ham due to the fact that American-style bacon is relatively unknown and unavailable in Italy.
My wife had a ham, cheese, and mushroom "Club" panino (€7 - "panini", commonly used as singular in the US, is actually plural in Italy, meaning two or more), also accompanied by fries. The sandwich was massive with three thin slices of white toast layered with mushrooms and cheese on one and ham and cheese on the other, then toasted in a sandwich press. The sandwich and fries were good, but both could have been warmer. probably having sat waiting for the two busy servers that were obviously not expecting such a large crowd on a Sunday night after a holiday.
The servers were friendly, but, overwhelmed by the unexpectedly large crowd, service was rather slow. We waited over 30 minutes for our orders while the couple that entered just before us (and told us about the existence of the pub) received their food less than 10 minutes after ordering.

CombatCritic Gives 14th 7 Bombs Out Of 10 With Deductions For Slow Service Untraditional Bacon, And A Lukewarm Sandwich ... More Bombs Are Better!





Seven Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Read Chris S.'s review of 14th on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Matera, Italy: Is It Italian? Is It American? It's Pub "14th" And Yummy Burgers!

Key Words: 14, 14th, Matera, Basilicata, Italy, pub, bar, hamburger, food, beer, sassi, Sassi di Matera, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"




Osteria Malatesta
Via San Biagio 45
75100 Matera
Italy
Phone number +39 331 2887242
Website: osteriamalatesta.com
Prices: € € € € 


It was a cold winter's night with nary an open restaurant to be found on Befana Eve in snowy Matera (January 6th, Befana, is the morning where kids in Italy awake to presents brought by the legendary witch). We stumbled upon Osteria Malatesta (Malatesta is an old Italian (Rimini) family name and literally means "bad head" or "crazy") while walking down a back street toward the Sassi di Matera (old town - UNESCO site) where there seemed to be more action and open shops.
The place was full except for an open table and the two servers were running around taking orders and delivering food when we arrived. We were just happy to be in a warm room and out of the uncharacteristically bitter cold in Southern Italy. The server told us that the table was reserved, but there were seats available at the "tavola degli amici" (table of the friends), a table for eight where a young couple from Puglia was already sitting, one a forest ranger and his wife a Carabinieri (state police). They invited us to join them, not like they had a choice, and were quite welcoming and friendly.

For our antipasto, we decided to share the formaggi (cheese), olive (green olives), e salame (and salami) accompanied by fresh bread. For €8, the plate was a bit sparse with three small triangles of local cheese, about 9-10 green olives, and four slices of salami. I think €4 to €5 would have been a more reasonable price. A litre of local red house (della casa) wine was much more reasonably priced at €4.50 and was quite good.

For our entrees, we decided to go light and order only pasta (no meat course). My wife went with the local cavatelli in a pesto, gorgonzola, and almond sauce (€8). The portion was of decent size and the sauce rich and flavorful. THe combination of pesto and gorgonzola was unique, but they pulled it off quite well.
I wanted to try a local dish and the server recommended the Orecchiette Cruschi e Mollica Fritta (€8). Cruschi are sun dried sweet Italian peppers with the seeds removed, cut or crushed into tiny pieces, then pan fried in olive oil until crispy. The olive oil and peppers are then added to the cooked cavatelli, sprinkled with fried breadcrumbs. It was quite different than any pasta dish I have had and tasty enough, but there are many more sauces I prefer to this one.
The tavern was old with large arched stone ceiling, a bit plain but inviting nonetheless. The tables and chairs were old and wooden with candles burning on all except ours. The service was efficient, but as cold as the air outside, barely talking to us until we left and I told them that I was a food critic. They became all smiles then and treated us like old friends ... too late.


CombatCritic Gives Osteria Malatesta 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Six Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Read Chris S.'s review of Osteria Malatesta on Yelp
Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Matera, Italy: "Crazy" Cold Night, Warm Tavern, Very Average Meal

Key Words: Matera, Italy, Basilicata, Settembre, tavern, 14th, pub, bar, hamburger, sandwiches, panini, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"


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