Matera and Cripta del Peccato Originale
(39 km – 45 minute drive)
Matera is renowned for its Sassi districts, which are outstanding examples of a rupestrian (rock-cut) settlement, adapted perfectly to the geomorphologic setting and ecosystem, exhibiting continuity over more than two millennia. Matera is the most marvelous, intact example of a Paleolithic settlement in the Mediterranean region. The Sassi district is divided into two parts, the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano. It contains countless rupestrian churches and is considered the gem of Basilicata. The town also boasts other charming and beautiful buildings such as the Dome, built in the 13th century in Romanesque style, but with a visible baroque touch inside the nave, making it an impressive sight on the Civita hill. The Civita became the center of the town during Roman times and today it stands in the middle of the ancient Sassi. Close by you will find the beautiful Romanesque and Baroque churches of San Francesco d’Assisi, Purgatorio, and Santa Chiara. Discover things to do in Matera, and explore its history and traditions by visiting Palazzo Lanfranchi (the best example of the Baroque style in Matera), the Museum of Modern Art of Basilicata, and the MUSMA (one of the most interesting European contemporary museums located in a hundred-room palazzo) and Casa Cava. The Crypt of the Original Sin is also known as the Sistine Chapel of the rupestrian art. With three shallow arched chapels carved from soft rock, the Crypt served as a church for a monastic community where the masterly hand of the "Painter of the Flowers of Matera" narrates scenes from the Old and New Testament in a cycle of frescoes dating back to the 9th century. In May 1963, a group of young enthusiasts rediscovered the Crypt. Private visits have now become one of the most captivating tours while visiting the City of the Sassi.
(33.2 km – 35 minute drive)
Craco is located on a hill 390 meters above sea level. It sits on top of a cliff and gullies that characterize the hilly area of the Lucanian Apennines, and is surrounded by the Calanchi Lucani. The town is characterized by spontaneous architecture with cut-out craft in stone and brick. The stone houses are intertwined around the castle which overlooks the entire village from the top of the cliff. In the surrounding area, tombs of the 8th century B.C. have been found, though the first historical evidence of the medieval village dates back to the 11th century A.D. In the Middle Ages, under the Norman rule, the ancient town grew in importance and became a cultural and military center under the reign of Frederick II. Craco was permanently evacuated in 1963 when a landslide affected the safety of the entire medieval village. The abandonment of the old houses transformed the area into a ghost town now often used as a film set for historical films.
(Rabatana and Anglona Sanctuary)
(53.4 km – 47 minute drive)
The Rabatana district of Tursi is the most characteristic part of the historic center. Its neighborhoods are called Rabatana, Rabatà Ravata, or Ribat, which in Arabic means place of rest or fortified place. The Rabatana of Tursi coincides with the highest part of the Middle Ages, in an excellent defensive position. The group of buildings that still characterize the district was dominated by the castle, with a few traces still remaining today. Rabatana is located in the heart of the Collegiate Church of St. Maria Maggiore. Inside there is a catacomb of gothic structures adorned with sacred writings as well as a stone crib from the 15th century. The frescoes, dating back to the 16th century, can be traced back to Simon Florence and students of the school of Giotto.
Sanctuary of Anglona
Another important monument worth visiting in Tursi is the Sanctuary of Anglona, which has been a national monument since 1931. The present Cathedral of Anglona dates back to the 11thand 12th centuries and is constituted by a little church that serves as the oratory. The construction is made of tufa stone and travertine, and displays many important architectural elements. The recent restoration shows new frescos, some featuring representations of the New Testament.
Vulture of Frederick II
(143 km - 1 hour 40 minute drive)
Melfi is famous for its castle which was built by the Normans. It was renovated by the Swabians and Angevins, and in 1231 Frederick II signed the Augustales Constitutions of Sicily’s Kingdom. The castle then passed into the hands of the Dorians, an important noble Italian family from Genova, and they transformed the central structure and renovated the room decor. Currently the castle is the Melfi National Museum, containing relics and artifacts from the prehistoric Roman, Greek, and Norman periods.
Lagopesole is renowned for its castle which was erected between 1242 and 1250. It is a magical place where the spirit of the great Swabian Emperor Frederick II can still be felt. Thanks to its position on the hill of the town, it appears and disappears from view depending on where you are situated. The position of the castle upon the valley tells us that it was designed as the hunting castle for Frederick II.
Literary Park ‘Carlo Levi’
(66.5 km – 1 hour drive)
Aliano is located on a clay spur in the Calanchi (ravines) landscape between the Agri River and tributary Sauro. In this magical place you can find Carlo Levi’s house, a writer and painter who was exiled here during the fascist period. His book,Christ Stopped at Eboli, was written here and is considered to be his masterpiece. To honor the writer, a literary park donning his name was created, with many activities taking place year around.
(60 km – 45 minute drive)
Valsinni town is located in the province of Matera in the Sinni River Valley. It is known as the hometown of Isabella Morra, the famous Poetess of Loneliness, and first woman of Italian literature. In the summertime you can experience the marvelous Renaissance atmosphere, when the entire town turns into minstrels and storytellers performing their roles. Through the park you can find her favorite places: the castle, the old town, the Sinni river, the Pietà chapel, and many more.
Hera Temple, Metapontum
(15 km – 10 minute drive)
Metaponto was founded by Greek settlers on the Ionian coast and became one of the most important settlements of the Magna Grecia. Visitors have the opportunity to travel into the millennial history of Greek culture. The archaeological site includes different temples dedicated to Athena, Apollo, Hera, and others. The urban area contains a theatre and ruins of Greek homes. 15 out of the 36 original columns from the Hera Temple are still preserved today.
(85 km – 1 hour 5 minute drive)
The Valle d’Itria is the home of the famous Trulli (cylindrical homes with cone roofs). Here you will find the biggest concentration of Trulli, offering charming scenery and an exclusive landscape. It is not a typical valley as it has ups and downs, allowing many different views. In Valle d’Itria you will find very interesting villages such as Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Cisternino, Ceglie Messapica, Alberobello, and Ostuni.
Martina Franca’s main attraction is the old quarter, a fine example of Baroque art, with its streets, white lanes, palaces, and colossal churches. The Palazzo Ducale is the essential monument, and from its strategic location it offers an outstanding view over the nearby towns. Martina Franca is adorned by suggestive caves and surrounded by karst territory. The ancient Casedde, the famous Trulli, and Masseria (local farms) are part of this stunning location.
Since 1996 Alberobello has been a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an exceptional town because of its countless Trulli (cylindrical homes with cone roofs). It is a gem of the Valle d’Itria with its name derived from the oaks that once grew in this area. Alberobello is also famous for its craft industry and production of oil and wine. It is known for the folklore feasts that recall a variety of events that happened in the past amongst the Trulli.
(111 km – 1 hour 20 minute drive)
Ostuni is another pearl of Valle d’Itria and is known as the White Town because of the color of the architecture within it. The area around Ostuni had been inhabited since the Stone Age by different tribes until it was destroyed and rebuilt by the Greeks.
(160 km – 1 hour 45 minute drive
Lecce is an enchanting Baroque town of Southern Italy, sometimes described as the Florence of the Baroque. It belongs to the region of Puglia, down in the heel of Italy's boot. Lecce has a long history and there are still ruins of Roman theatres and amphitheatres there today. Palaces and churches were built in the Baroque style, locally known as Plateresco Barocco Leccese or Lecce Baroque. One of the most important examples of Lecce Baroque is the Basilica of Santa Croce. Its facade is decorated with different symbols and creatures containing various meanings. The two most relevant squares in Lecce are Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Piazza del Duomo. Piazza Sant’Oronzo is the crucial point of the town where modern and old styles come together. You will find the ancient Roman amphitheatre amid some of the most modern buildings of the 20th century. It is also home to the statue of Sant’Oronzo, the patron saint of Lecce whom the square was named after. Piazza del Duomo is an unusual square because the Duomo is inside a corner of the square, but it is suggestive and characteristic of this marvelous city.
(160 km – 1 hour 45 minute drive)
Otranto is a historic seaside town located in the area of Salento (Puglia), the heel of Italy's boot. Otranto is the most eastern part of Italy and from its coast you can see Albania. The town is well-known for its blue waters, white buildings, and diving rocks. Otranto played an important role as a Greek and then Roman port, called Hydruntum. Later it was ruled by the Byzantines, the Normans, and then the Aragonese. In 1480 the town was invaded by Turks, and 800 locals were executed for refusing to convert to Islam. The bones and skulls of the martyrs of Otranto have since been kept in the cathedral. One of the must-see buildings of Otranto is its castle, the Castello Aragonese. It is a majestic construction, which forms part of the formidable defense system of Otranto. The current building was built in the 15th century atop one of Frederick II's earlier fortresses.
FOOD & WINE
The hotel's guests are involved in preparing traditional pasta with the chef. While tasting wine, you will learn how to shape our locally handmade pasta. After cooking, enjoy the dish by adding a pasta sauce.
Guests will prepare and shape dough, learning how to make pizza with traditional ingredients.
Situated on the Agri River Valley, this organic farm is reminiscent of ancient times when everything was homemade. The Masseria is fortified with four towers located at the four corners in order to defend it from attacks of the Brigands. You can see Podolic (cows), as they live outside of stables, eating wild food without any extra chemical feeding. Farm hands invite guests to prepare their own focaccia in an old wooden oven used by the people of the Masseria. It is a unique opportunity to share a typical day on a traditional farm and conclude with an informal dinner where both owners and guests participate in setting the table.
Le Cantine del Notaio is located in Rionero in Vulture. You will enjoy a fantastic journey through the ancient tradition of winemaking. Here you can taste and enjoy the great wine produced, coming from the excellent grapes that are cultivated in fields rich in mineral water. The team of Le Cantine will guide you through the production, preservation, and final result of their treasured wine. After a tour of the historic cellars, you can enjoy the wine with a light lunch made from products that come from local farms.
Within 15 minutes of the Palazzo, many miles of sandy beaches extend along the cobalt-blue shores of the Ionian Sea. We have a special private area of a beach club close to the old pine forest. You can be transported to this secluded beach for the day (departure at 10:30 am in the morning and return at 4:00 pm to Palazzo Margherita) and you can choose to book either an umbrella or a gazebo. In addition, enjoy either a picnic lunch (prepared by the hotel's chefs) or a lunch with fresh fish of the day, caught by local fishermen. Upon your arrival, you will find a welcome drink and fresh fruit to begin a relaxing day at the beach.
Pollino National Park
Established in 1990, Pollino National Park has a great number of churches, monasteries, ruins, and castles. All of the towns in the Pollino area are still linked to tradition, and for this reason they celebrate special events with costumes typical of the area and cuisine made only in their villages. Numerous religious processions take place and some villages like San Costantino and San Paolo Albanese still celebrate their own religion, using ancient costumes and speaking Arbereshe, the old Albanian language.
Appearing in the midst of the green vegetation of Mount Vulture, Monticchio Lakes is one of the oldest volcanoes of Southern Italy. As you approach the water, you will realize that you are next to one of the most precious gems of Basilicata. It is surrounded by rich flora and fauna, and if you drive up to the hill to the Abbey of San Michel, you can see a stunning panorama of this sacred place below.
Park of the Rupestrian Churches
This park is characterized by a soft rock with deep furrows that form cliffs, gorges, caves, and ravines. The park features prehistoric caves, rupestrian monastic settlements, and prehistoric settlements. The flora of the Murgia National Park includes 1,200 botanical species, or about one sixth of the entire flora of Italy and one third of that region, which is a remarkable number for an area of that size.
Lucanian Dolomites Park and Villages
(84 km – 1 hour 10 minute drive)
The beautiful Dolomiti Lucane is characterized by high peaks that date back 15 million years. The highest mountains are those of the Costa di San Martino, called Piccole Dolomiti. At the back of the Dolomiti Lucane are the villages of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.
Castelmezzano is a village where you can walk between houses heading up the hills to view the wonderful landscape. It features beautiful buildings and churches that have been well preserved, including the main Church of Santa Maria dell’Olmo.
Pietrapertosa is a village that is built within rocks, as its people adapted to the surrounding nature. This is the highest village of Basilicata in which you can experience Il Volo dell’Angelo (The Angel’s Flight), where you are attached to a steel rope and fly above the amazing landscape.