Basilicata, Italy

This Southern section of Italy is tucked high up on the beautiful boot’s instep, flanked by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. The landscape is wild and mountainous, home to some of the county’s most impressive national parks and the volcanic Mount Vulture. Underground churches and caves lurk beneath the arid terrain, and Matera’s maze-like settlement of cave dwellings is a Unesco World Heritage site. Basilicata’s not all hilltops and history though; Maratea has some dazzling secluded coves and the region’s two provinces, Potenza and Matera, both boast bars and boutiques.

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Areas in Basilicata

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Palese airport in Bari is served by British Airways from London Gatwick ( | or Ryanair from London Stansted ( The airport is 15km from the city centre; taxis cost around €20. Ryanair flies to Papola Casale airport in Brindisi. The city centre is 7km away – taxis are around €15–€20.
  • Trains

    If you want to travel by Eurostar part of the way, sleeper trains from Paris connect to Italy’s major cities. Direct trains run from Bari to Matera (
  • Automobiles

    You’ll want a car for exploring the mountain ranges | ruins and ravishing coastline | but watch out for driving in the small hamlets and towns – the streets are narrow and winding | and finding parking space can be challenging.
  • Taxis

    You can flag taxis by bus and train stations – since they’re not particularly wallet-friendly, they’re best for short journeys.

Suite 13 at Sextantio Grotte della Civita, Basilicata, Italy

Suite 13 at Sextantio Grotte della Civita, Basilicata, Italy

Sleeping in a cave might not sound seductive, but when you’ve bedded down in the cliff-carved caverns of Matera, you feel differently. For the most romantic of entrances, arrive by night, when Matera twinkles with lights and a stone staircase dotted with flickering candles signposts the reception. Once inhabited by prehistoric creatures, then by monks and now by travellers in search of the most atmospheric bedrooms in Europe, these nougat-coloured caves have a church-like serenity, aided by dark wood pews, altar-style tables and thick white candles in the stone walls’ natural nooks and niches. Suite 13 has its own balcony overlooking the ravine, and the bathroom has its own fireplace beside the big-enough-for-two tub.

Find out more about Sextantio Grotte della Civita