15 October 2018

from April to October

The Sassi of ancient Matera and the natural beauty of the Dolomites

Come on this holiday tour and Dimensione Attiva will help you explore this incredible remote area in the south of Italy with its stunning landscapes and unique history and culture. Matera is spectacular thanks to its amazing architecture that was carved into the rock during the Palaeolithic period, when people first started settling into the natural cave-dwellings of the area. Today it is one of the most ancient cities in the world. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Matera’s history is rich and fascinating and you can learn about it on our excursions catching glimpses of its ancient heritage of culture and traditions. The Lucanian Dolomites, named after the Dolomites in Trentino because of their similarities, have a distinct natural environment that is characteristic of the towns of Pietrapertosa ( “uno dei borghi più belli d’Italia” – one of the most beautiful towns of Italy) and Castelmezzano; the range was formed by the rocks on the sea bottom millions of years ago and today the mountains have rough and bizarre shapes due to the erosion of atmospheric agents, creating a clear contrast with the surrounding gentle rolling hills and countryside. During this trip, we’ll also be making a stop at the Nature Reserve Calanchi di Montalbano with its stunning shapes and landscapes. To sum up, this trip has various things to offer including history, culture, architecture, art, traditions, nature and walking, all in a “enchanting” setting to make a unique holiday.

  • Matera,
  • the Sassi of Matera,
  • the Gravine di Matera (canyon-like formations),
  • the ghost town,
  • the churches carved into the stone,
  • Villaggio Saraceno,
  • the cave-dwellings,
  • the local food and traditions,
  • Matera bread,
  • Lucanian landscapes,
  • Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano,
  • the Calanchi and the unspoilt nature

Day 1:

Meet at the meeting point (see “how to get here”) and group transfer by coach to Basilicata. Check into the hotel and dinner. After dinner, a group briefing and presentation of the itinerary and overnight stay.


Day 2


Breakfast at the hotel and then transfer to Matera where the excursion begins. In the morning we’ll start with a view of the Sasso Barisano neighbourhood and a guided tour learning about the geology, history, culture, economy and art that characterize the dwellings carved into the stone. We will take a pleasant walk through the Sasso Barisano and the Sasso Caveoso, the “Civita” district, the Baroque Matera of the 19th and 20th centuries. We will then stop for a tour of the Palombaro-Matera Subterranean and of the Casa Grotta (Cave-dwelling). Palombaro is an ancient part of the Sassi that was built beneath the town’s 20th century square. The tour will take place in Palombaro Lungo, one of the biggest cisterns in the world, which is one of the reasons why Matera became part of UNESCO. We will then take a naturalistic walk through the Regional Natural Park of the Murgia Materana and of the Rupestrian Churches (stone churches) in an area with breathtaking views. The walk starts off on a rocky plain and then continues through the Gravina di Matera, a majestic karstic canyon, whose history and geology are extremely interesting. On the walk, we will visit a cave-dwelling and two lovely rupestrian churches (built into the stone) with frescoes.

Packed lunches will be provided by the hotel for this excursion.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Change in elevation: 100 m


Day 3:


Breakfast at the hotel. The whole day will be dedicated to hiking again in ancient Matera with an excursion to “Parco Naturale Regionale Storico ed Archeologico della Murgia Materana e delle Chiese Rupestri” (a regional park dedicated to the history and archaeology of Murgia Materana and the rupestrian churches). We will pass through enchanting areas along the “Gravina di Matera,” a deep karstic canyon with impressive rocky walls, and we will see caverns, rupestrian dwellings and churches, and villages dating back to the Metal Ages. The rough and wild landscapes, the Mediterranean shrubs, and the intense perfumes of the plants in the air will make this excursion particularly enjoyable. We will walk along a trail on the south side of Parco della Murgia Materana towards Montescaglioso. Lunch will be in a cavern and at the end of the route, there will be a tour of a charming rupestrian church dating back to 12th-13th centuries A.D. located in Villaggio Saraceno, one of the biggest cave-dwellings of the park. At the end of the excursion there will be the possibility to have a brief guided tour (optional with extra costs) of the historical town center of Montescaglioso and a tour of Saint Michele Arcangelo Abbey.

A packed lunch will be provided by the hotel.
Return, dinner and overnight.
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Change in elevation: 150 m


Day 4:


Breakfast at the hotel and departure for the Lucanian Dolomites. The hike will offer breathtaking views of rocky crests and the surrounding valleys. Once we get to the castle of Pietrapertosa, located about 1080 m above sea level, we will begin the descent towards Rio di Caperrino, then cross over the Roman bridge, climb towards Castelmezzano and then take a tour of the ruins of its castle where we will see an amazing panorama that extends from Matera to Potenza. Part of the route includes the “Path of the Seven Stones” which connected the two towns in the Lucanian Dolomites, coming across a valley that was home to an unhappy and legendary love story. We will eat our packed lunches, provided by the hotel, along the route. Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Change in elevation: 350 m


Day 5:


Breakfast at the hotel and departure for the nearby area of Montalbano Ionico where we will begin our walk through the Calanchi Park. The deep incisions that characterize the “calanchi” that descend into the cultivated fields, bordered by forests of Mediterranean shrub, pine and cypress trees have created a gorgeous landscape. The morning will be dedicated to the Lucanian calanchi and the Magna Graecia remains found on the Ionic coast. The excursion will begin with a stop at an interesting Romanesque sanctuary that is home to an embellished series of paintings and then we will take a break to see the panorama of “Old” Craco, a completely abandoned town that has now become a “Ghost Town.” In the afternoon, a 25 minute transfer to Matera where you will have free time to wander around Matera at your own pace. Packed lunches will be provided by the hotel. Trekking gear will not be necessary on this day.

Level of difficulty: easy


Day 6:


After breakfast, departure for Gallipoli Cognato and the Lucanian Dolomites. We will spend this day on a walk through the Regional Natural Park of Gallipoli Cognato and the small Lucanian Dolomites. This park is particularly interesting from a historical, archaeological, geological and naturalistic point of view, and it offers a unique scenery to take in. Arrival and a pause at the Monastic settlement in Palazzo, an ancient Benedictine monastery, founded in the 12th-13th centuries A.D. on the hermitage of Saint Guglielmo da Vercelli, which is now home to the park headquarters. The route begins at the resting area and most of it will cross through protected areas. We will walk through a variety of settings ranging from forests to mountainous plateaus as well as rocky crests and the mountainous villages of the Lucanian Dolomites. Along the route we will have lunch provided by the hotel. Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.

Level of difficulty: moderate (covering 17 km)
Change in elevation: 380 m


Day 7:

Breakfast at the hotel. Group transfer by coach. Arrival at the railway station of Bari Centrale / Aeroporto in Bari (see “how to get here”) and departure for various home destinations.

The walks are suitable for everyone, trekkers and Nordic walkers who have a minimal level of fitness habits and who are able to walk for a few hours a day (5 or 6). The moderate changes in elevation allow even people who are new to fitness to participate in the activities. The excursions, with easy to moderate levels of difficulty, do not require any technical abilities and are done on trails that go mainly through the urban areas of Matera and through the surrounding mountainous areas. The fifth day is dedicated to tourist activities.

the initial meeting point is either the airport or railway station of Bari which will be the departure point of group transfers.


By railway:

To check the times and costs of the trains, visit:

For example:

  • from Milano Centrale to Bari Centrale there are various times (with stops along the way in Bologna, Rimini, Pesaro, Ancona, Pescara, Termoli, etc.), dated the 15th of May, a roundtrip ticket could cost €100.00-€120.00;
  • from Rome to Bari Centrale there are various direct trains departing at different times, roundtrip tickets costing €50-€80;
  • there is also a direct Frecciarossa train Milano-Roma- Taranto that stops at “Metaponto” which is only 15 km from the hotel.


By bus:


By plane:

From/to Milan:

  • Ryanair has direct flights from Bergamo Orio al Serio to the airport of Bari with daily departures;
  • EasyJet has direct flights from Milano Malpensa to the airport of Bari.

From / to Rome:

  • Ryanair and Alitalia have direct flights from Roma Fiumicino to the airport of Bari.



For group transfers:

  • on the 19th of October, the meeting point is at the Italian Railway Station of Bari Centrale or at the Airport of Bari with departure at 6pm by coach.
  • on the 25th of October, arrival at the Italian Railway Station of Bari Centrale or at the Airport of Bari by private coach at about 12 or 1 pm.
  • transfers to and from excursions will be by private coach.

-For information:

– The planned activities and itinerary will be carried out weather permitting. Alternative excursions or activities will be proposed if necessary.

– The holiday will take place as long as the minimum number of persons has been reached; should that minimum number not be reached, the client will be fully reimbursed.

– The holiday will take place, upon decision of the organizers, even if the minimum number of persons hasn’t been reached, only with the accompaniment and the assistance of the local guide.

– The hotel accommodation facilities could change, in case the standard and services will be guaranteed.

– The itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions with the final decision being that of the guides.

– Recommended equipment: for more information click here


A “Dimensione Attiva” event

-Technical management managed by Geosfera Viaggi – Globe Inside srl Group

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