Planning a trip to Italy and wandering about the best cave hotels in Matera? Look no further as we narrow down the best Matera cave hotels for the perfect, rustic stay.
As Italy’s oldest city, Matera is full of surprises. Its rich history seeps through every crevice, labyrinth streets lead you up, down and through its rock churches as the sun-baked landscape looks on.
Nestled in the rustic charm of southern Italy in the Basilicata Region, Matera’s cave hotels offer a gateway into a world where time seems to stand still. A harmonious blend of ancient allure and contemporary comfort, these underground abodes hold a secret allure that beckons travelers from far and wide.
Matera’s cave hotels, so seeped in history and the traditional Materan charm are some of the best places to stay in Matera. They allow you to experience Matera how it would have looked in the past (minus the disease, squalor and with added luxury). They certainly make one of the city’s most unique types of accommodation that just must be experienced.
I’ve been to Matera three times now, and each time we stayed in a few different cave hotels. I just love the idea of being part of history when sleeping in one. Here are the best Matera Italy cave hotels you absolutely need to stay in when visiting.
For the full Matera guide, read Things to Do in Matera: Our Guide to Visiting Matera, Italy
*This ‘Matera cave hotels’ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
Short on time? Here’s my top pick
The best Matera, Italy cave hotel in my opinion is Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita. The rustic, atmospheric design is flawless, the views are incredible and the service is top-notch. Book your stay by clicking below.
Why Stay in a Cave Hotel in Matera?
You might be thinking why on earth would I want to stay in a cave and you’re right.
Generally, lightless dens are the opposite of what anyone would look for in accommodation, after all, they are dark, damp and cold.
While that’s certainly true for most places, Matera, Italy might be the exception. Here, due to caves being just so fundamentally part of Matera’s history, staying in one, even just for a night or two makes for a unique and oftentimes luxury experience difficult to pass up.
Today Matera is one of the few places offering a stay in a cave hotel in Italy.
History of Caves in Matera
It’s impossible to write about Matera’s cave hotels and not mention their historical significance and cultural value. After all, staying in one is in itself one of the best things to do in Matera, the main reason being that the experience will take you back a few hundred years.
Matera, renowned as the world’s third oldest continually inhabited city, comprises a network of caves and stone pathways that have housed inhabitants since the Stone Age, persisting through the ages until the 1950s.
While various regions of Italy prospered over time, witnessing improved living standards, Matera remained shrouded in a state of destitution, with its populace enduring abject poverty. In this ancient city, people coexisted with their livestock in disease-ridden caves plagued by malaria.
It wasn’t until the arrival of exiled writer Carl Levi, whose memoirs shed light on Matera’s plight, that the town’s fortunes began to change. Levi’s revelations exposed the harsh reality of Matera’s living conditions, prompting a shift in the town’s trajectory.
In the 1950s, the government orchestrated the relocation of the populace to contemporary accommodations in what is now recognized as the ‘new’ Matera. Subsequently, the Sassi lay deserted for numerous years, until eventual efforts were made to redevelop the area into the thriving site that graces our Matera itineraries today.
Today you can visit various cave house museums throughout Matera’s sassi which give you more of an idea of how people lived in Matera’s caves throughout the centuries.
Where to Stay in Matera
Much like many other ancient cities in Italy, Matera has an old part and a new part. Most Matera residents will live in the new part, while most visitors and hotels congregate in the old part of the city as this is where most of Matera’s attractions are.
Matera’s old city is called the sassi and this generally is the best part of Matera to stay in.
The Sassi are made up of two cave districts – Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso. It’s here where you’ll find most of Matera’s highlights and the best cave hotels. This is also the most central place to stay.
Another alternative for where to stay in Matera is the modern Matera City located above and behind the Sassi. Here you’ll find many more modern hotels, an excellent choice if you decide you actually prefer not to stay in a centuries-old cave.
Note that the main benefit of staying in the new town is access to parking. Here you’ll be able to park on the street or in car parks near the hotel.
On the other hand, the sassi are part of the ZTL or zona di traffico limitato which limits traffic completely.
You’ll need to park somewhere outside the old town and then walk in (think 10-20 minute walk, potentially with stairs) however many of the best cave hotels in Matera have designated parking garages you can park in for an extra fee. They then transport you down to the hotel via a private shuttle.
The situation isn’t ideal for those with a lot of luggage. If you have a lot of luggage, I recommend packing what you need for one or two nights into an overnight bag and leaving what you don’t need in your car.
11 Swoonworthy Matera Cave Hotels
1. Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita
Enter reigning champion and most iconic of the luxury Matera cave hotels. In my opinion anyway.
Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita is a small and iconic cave hotel in Matera. This boutique hotel, delicately carved into the natural rock formations, offers an immersive experience that transcends the realms of conventional travel.
Rooms here are large and traditional yet with all the modern amenities. The property has splendid views out over Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana and it’s super romantic.
What I really love about this Matera hotel is the fact that rooms are large, they are well lit, even though you’re staying in a cave. The decor too is swoonworthy. You’ll find many cave hotels in Matera with modern decor but Sextantio keeps things rustic.
Using local antique furniture and decor, they really embody that traditional cave experience and it’s not difficult to immediately be transported back a century to times bygone. Don’t miss a stay in one of the best hotels in Matera Italy.
2. Corte San Pietro
One of the first cave hotels in Matera I had the pleasure of staying at, Corte San Pietro Hotel Matera is a beautiful property, right off the main street running through Matera’s sassi. It’s also perfect for those looking for a cave hotel whose access doesn’t involve climbing up many steep stairs.
Corte San Pietro beautifully marries ancient cave architecture with the comforts of modern luxury. Guests are greeted with a warm embrace, as the hotel’s traditional stone facade and rustic interiors evoke a sense of timeless charm and intimacy.
Rooms are well lit and temperature-controlled, and have all the modern amenities you’d need for a fruitful stay. They are beautifully designed, preserving Matera’s architectural legacy in every corner.
Breakfast at Corte San Pietro is outstanding and you can look forward to a full Italian spread each morning. Service also goes above and beyond.
3. Cenobio Hotel
Cenobio Hotel Matera is another brilliant luxury option for cave hotels in Matera. Located a stone’s throw away from Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, this sublime hotel has just 9 rooms and suites making it feel extremely boutique.
It’s been excavated and modelled on the ancient cave dwellings of Matera and staying here makes the ideal unique stay that you might be looking for.
There’s an excellent breakfast buffet, which can be had on their terrace overlooking the Gravina Stream and the canyon that separates the town from the Parco Regionale della Murgia opposite.
The decor here is fairly modern which beautifully contrasts against the ancient cave structure.
4. Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & Spa
For you wellness-focused travellers, you’ll be pleased to know there’s also a cave hotel in Matera with a luxury spa and wellness menu.
Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel Matera & Spa is a beautiful luxury property located in the Sassi di Matera. It’s full of charm, luxury design set between its tuff walls and its top spa gives you the opportunity to fully relax during your stay.
Rooms and suites are large and modern with ensuite facilities. There’s also an underground swimming pool made from an old cistern for you to relax in and for those that want to make the most of their stay, the spa menu includes massages, facials and couples treatments.
As the most wellness focused out of all the cave hotels in Matera, make sure not to miss a stay here, but book your stay in advance as rooms here book out fast!
5. Palazzo Del Duca Luxury Hotel
Modern Italian design meets ancient cave dwelling is what you get at the beautiful Palazzo Del Duca Luxury Hotel. This fabulous hotel is located up in the Civita area of Matera, the higher part of the sassi where the most noble lived.
In fact, as the same suggests, the palace that houses this property dates back to the 14th Century and was once owned by the Malvini Malvezzi family.
At Palazzo del Duca you’ll be able to experience the unique sassi in a different way. Rooms here are well appointed, each with their own, unique design features. Many of the rooms aren’t that cave-like at all meaning this property is perfect for those not interested in the low-ceiling caves.
Book the amazing Grottapignata Suite for your own cave suite with a private pool or one of their apartments for a luxury and private stay. For a more romantic touch, the Suite del Duca with a private terrace with beautiful views is fit for a king and queen.
6. Locanda di San Martino Hotel
Locanda di San Martino is one of the most affordable cave hotels in Matera.
Compromising 33 main rooms in the hotel and another 7 separate rooms and apartments located nearby in the hidden corners of the sassi, this affordable luxury stay is a definite winner.
The beautiful rooms are newly renovated and come with all the mod cons like air-conditioning, private bathrooms and free wifi.
My favourite rooms here are the ‘Superior- in Cave with city view’ in the main hotel as well as the ‘Junior Family Suite Dependance’ for a more private experience. Both feature traditional cave architecture and jacuzzi bathtubs.
Additionally make sure not to miss a visit to the Ancient Termae Romanae, the property’s healthcare center. Here you can indulge in the property’s sauna, hammam and hot-cold therapy circuit. You can also treat yourself to a wide range of massages.
7. Palazzotto Residence & Winery
Another of my top picks is Palazzotto Residence & Winery. This stunning small cave hotel located in the sassi is the ultimate, luxury Matera Italy cave hotel.
With beautiful, traditional cave architecture combined with opulent, contemporary amenities, this hotel provides a unique and luxurious Matera experience. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here and the breakfast is marvellous.
Another highlight of the property is its fully stocked wine cellar. Most of the wines come from their own vineyard but you can also sample some of the best local wines from Basilicata.
8. Sant’ Angelo Luxury Resort
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Sassi di Matera, Sant’ Angelo Luxury Resort offers a seamless blend of contemporary sophistication and rustic allure.
Guests are greeted by spacious, elegantly appointed suites adorned with traditional Italian craftsmanship and modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and lavish stay.
Sant’ Angelo Luxury Resort is the perfect mix of cave-like and non-cave-like rooms and suites making it a great option for just about everyone.
Its restaurant, Regiacorte is also one of the most sought-after dinner spots in Matera for its incredibly romantic terrace views (even though we thought the food was just average-good and the service awful).
9. Le Dodici Lune
Another fantastic more budget-friendly option, Le Dodici Lune is a lovely Matera cave hotel located in the sassi. Showcasing the classic cave architecture and traditional design, this atmospheric little hotel has been renovated to provide guests with luxurious suites with everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Occupying a picturesque corner of the sassi, this property also offers a superb breakfast and great staff on hand to help with restaurant reservations and Matera recommendations.
For facilities and design-to-price ratio, it’s difficult to beat this option.
10. Hydria Rooms
Hydria Rooms is located just outside of Sasso Barisano in a newly restored tuff-stone building. Its rooms and suites feature the traditional arch ceilings typical of Southern Italy and even though the rooms are cave-like they are much less claustrophobic than the traditional, low-ceiling cave hotels.
If you prefer something halfway between a cave room and a regular hotel room this is a great option. Rooms are modern, clean, and bright and some even have large private tubs, perfect for relaxing in after a long day on your feet.
Also with plenty of parking options nearby, you won’t need to walk far to get here.
Other Hotels in Matera to Consider
After reading this, you may have decided that a cave hotel in Matera isn’t for you and that’s okay. They can definitely feel a little claustrophobic.
There are plenty of other incredible Matera, Italy hotels that don’t involve sleeping in a renovated cave. Here are my top picks for where to stay in Matera – the non-cave version.
Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel
If you’re looking for a brilliant luxury hotel in Matera without the caves, make sure to look at Palazzo Gattini. Palazzo Gattini is the hotel where Daniel Craig stayed during the Matera filming of the Bond film ‘No Time to Die’.
Palazzo Gattini occupies a wonderful space in Piazza Duomo, overlooking the cathedral. The stunning palace hotel has beautiful views over the sassi, a place where you can enjoy them without staying in a cave.
Palazzo Gattini offers lavish, spacious rooms and suites that are beautifully decorated. They also have an on-site cafe and a great local restaurant.
Looking for things to do in Matera? These are some of the top Tours and Experiences in Matera:
Ready to book one of the best Matera cave hotels? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
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