For some, a quick trip to Miami for some R&R is enough to satisfy their travel craving. For others, nothing short of wandering Asia alone with little more than a backpack will do. If neither of those sound like enough inspiration to get away, you might consider planning an escape to Sextantio le Grotte della Civita, where caves serve as the backdrop for an enchanting Italian getaway.
The trip is definitely not for the “road well traveled” type of vacationer. Located five hours from the Roma airport, Sextianto demands commitment from its visitors. But for those willing to make the trek, great reward lies ahead.
The journey itself is quite the adventure. A leisurely drive through a mix of flatlands and serene Calabrese hills is a foreshadowing of the romance that is to come. (Most definitely stop off in one of the simple towns along the way like Napoli, Salerno, or Cetera for a divinely fresh seafood lunch.)
Upon reaching Matera, the first sights of town give off an air of seemingly Communist-era construction, but push on, and you will find the new city beginning to blend seamlessly with the old as you catch sight of vistas unlike any other. Alleyways descending into a canyon and back up the Sassi, or caves, leave you wondering if you’ve wandered too far, past the borders of Italy into a foreign land.
The old city of Matera is walkable with steps and pathways, some of which date back to 9000 BC. Though stunning, this proves handling luggage rather precarious. The reception cave is warm, candle-lit, and outfitted with simple but perfect details.
Handmade iron keys attached with divine lavender sachets are provided for the rooms. The caves continue inward to a shower nook, a bath cave, and a lou nook; all lit with candles, without doors, and completely constructed into the rock. These caves come with a rich history, so one must explore to fully appreciate it.
For most meals, guests can venture into town on foot. The food in Matera is local and fresh, so every restaurant is delicious. Breakfast at the hotel is set in a 13th-century rock church with long, rustic wooden tables adorned with local spreads of cheese, fruits, yogurts, sweet and savory breads, and fresh eggs to order.
Text by Tara Lange
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