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Art & Culture

Basilicata

Panoramic locations in Matera offering spectacular views of the Sassi district

12 September 2022

5 minutes

I Sassi, la Gravina, la Murgia. Archaic churches and dwellings. Tufa limestone rock hewn by nature, the wind and human beings. The unique and poetic splendour of Matera, a city designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, appears before us when we reach the panoramic terraces present in the historic centre and surrounding areas of the city.

These are the ideal sites where it is possible to stop for a while and let your gaze wander across the immense rock formations, observing the beauty of the location. And then, when you feel you would like to stop and acquire familiarity with the local cuisine, there are many bars and restaurants that offer their own panoramic views. 

1. The 5 panoramic points of the city of Matera where you will enjoy the magic scenario of the Sassi district

cinque punti panoramici matera

Walking along its narrow streets and alleyways, you will be able to fully appreciate the wonders of this unique city and you can spend some time at the ‘belvedere’ viewpoints which offer breathtaking views. Stop for a moment, observe the wonderful scenery and take a few photos. 

  • Belvedere Luigi Guerricchio

This point is on the eastern side of the central square, Piazza Vittorio Veneto. The Guerricchio belvedere is named after the successful painter Luigi Guerricchio. This small arched terrace adjoining the square is also known as the Belvedere dei Tre Archi. In the distance you will see the fascinating Sasso Barisano area, but this is also the best point from which one can observe the Cathedral of the city.

  • Belvedere Giovanni Pascoli

In the square, from the balustrade of the belvedere dedicated to the great Italian poet we can view the houses carved into the rock of the Sasso Caveoso area which have remained intact over the centuries. During the night, the array of lights in the distance create a fascinating setting. Let your gaze wander and in particular admire the Church of the Madonna dell'Idris which appears on one of the cliffs.

  • Belvedere Emilio Colombo

This panoramic viewpoint, situated near the Church of Sant'Agostino, was recently named after the famous politician from the Lucania region Emilio Colombo (1920 - 2013). Spend some time on the suspended terrace overlooking the Sasso Barisano, where you will be able to see the Cathedral. It is perhaps best to arrive here at sunset, when purple and orange shades animate the stone structure, perhaps in some way slightly reminiscent of a beehive, and enveloping you in a mysterious fairytale setting.

  • Belvedere della Cattedrale

After visiting the interior of the Cattedrale della Madonna della Bruna e di Sant'Eustachio, the principal church of the city, you might spend some time in the square: a terrace overlooking the entire Sasso Barisano, with its dense, meandering elements of stone and rock.

  • Belvedere Murgia Timone

Visitors will have their final and perhaps most sensational visual experience at the Belvedere Murgia Timone, just outside the city. This special viewpoint is located just across the river on a hill overlooking Matera. It is always a good idea to reach this point on foot, crossing the new bridge over the Torrente Gravina river and then strolling along the various pathways and ascending a few flights of steps. This excursion will be a very pleasant experience. You may prefer to arrive at the belvedere point by car, a journey that will take about half an hour. At the Belvedere at the top of the hill, on the Matera plateau, the view of the entire city with its iconic Sassi district is a magical experience you are very unlikely to forget. You will be surrounded by a remarkable array of grottos, rupestrian churches and rocks. You will feel as if you are on the Moon.

2. 5 cafes and restaurants with panoramic terraces offering a sublime multi-sensorial experience

cinque caffe e ristoranti con terrazze panoramiche

Enjoy your breakfast, apéritifs or dinner at exceptional locations, surrounded by the incomparable beauty of Matera. Sit at a table on the terraces of bars and restaurants. While you are tasting some of the local delicacies, the show will carry on.

  • Contact Bar & Pub

Order a platter of cold cuts and cheese, and accompany your meal with a cocktail. From the terrace you will enjoy a superb view of the Gravina gorge and the surrounding wild natural scenario.

  • The Roof Terrace Bar at Palazzo Viceconte

This bar forms part of the luxurious Palazzo Viceconte hotel, but it is open to everyone. You should really try to visit this location as from such a high position you will be charmed by a superb view of the old city. The grottos and various other sites - even as far as the Murgia Park - will be there spread out before you. You will also clearly distinguish the gorges protected by tufa limestone rock and extraordinary rupestrian architectural structures. The Cathedral is not so far away.  This venue is a perfect choice for a panoramic apéritif, and you can choose your favourite drink from a rich cocktail menu.

  • Osteria Pizzeria La Coca Cola

When you are there on the terrace, the Gravina landscape will be stretching out all around you, and inside the building a surprising feature is an 18th-century cellar excavated in the tufa limestone now transformed into a pizzeria-cum-restaurant.  You should try the fresh pasta enriched with chickling vetch peas and local cardoncelli mushrooms, the pork specialities, ricotta and morsels of sheep-milk cheese.

  • Kappador Pizzeria and Restaurant

Located in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, a square in the very heart of Matera, and with the terrace overlooking the Sassi, the Kappador venue has a charming atmosphere, especially in the evening. Fish is normally served with chicory, and the mussel soup and a pasta dish dressed with clams and a creamy fava bean sauce are excellent dishes.

  • Lanfranchi Cafe

At this venue the coffee served on the terrace overlooking the Sassi is considered one of the best you will find in the city and is well accompanied by sweet pastries and croissants. At this location during the holy apéritif hour those present will enjoy an enchanting play of light across the monuments, the ancient dwellings and the Gravina gorge.