Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2014 Best of the Best Winner: Best for Romance
- Daily breakfast, served in the nooks of a 13th-century church, and a basket of fruit on arrival are included in the rate
- Gorgeous location on the edge of Sassi di Matera, overlooking hills and valleys
- An easy five- to 10-minute walk to great restaurants and bargain wine bars
- Stand-alone bathtubs in the candlelit rooms
What To Know
- A city tax of approximately $3 per person, per night, will be charged by the hotel at checkout
- Matera is a 75-minute drive from Bari airport, so you’ll need to organize transfers with the hotel, rent a car or get a bus (see How to Get There)
- The nearest beach is 25 miles away, at Metaponto, and it’s not very inspiring
- Perfect for a romantic break
- Staff can organize candlelit dinners, cooking lessons and wine and tea tastings in the breakfast room
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Eighteen uniquely converted caves make up Sextantio le Grotte della Civita, arranged over three levels of a rock face in Sassi di Matera — a cluster of prehistoric cave dwellings. Each room is different; one has a carved stone staircase leading to a bathtub with a fireplace beside it, while another has a gap in the wall that leads to a surprise extra bedroom. Peek at a few of them and you’ll get steadily more giddy. Outside, the hotel’s natural terraces have sweeping views of a vast, cave-filled archaeological park with a soundtrack provided by a trickling stream.
Bed and Bath
In each of the 18 rooms there are rickety dark brown chests and benches topped with candles (though there are discreet lamps, too, that emit a cozy, warm light), and a chunky dining table that holds a bowl of organic fruit and a jug of water. Simplicity is key, because the setting does all the wooing. But sleeping in a cave needn’t mean forgoing your favorite mod cons. There are power showers in naturally occurring “cubicles,” tucked-away stand-alone baths, underfloor heating, hair dryers — even free WiFi.
Breakfast in the 13th-century church is an event. There are plenty of these rock-chiseled churches in Matera, but not all of them offer breakfast. The tables around the outside are brilliantly secluded, so you can linger over the handsome organic spread of ricotta, mozzarella, freshly made focaccia, fruit and yogurt without even having to look at another guest. Staff can organize candlelit dinners, cooking lessons and wine and tea tastings in this atmospheric room.
How to Get There
From the very first email to the staff at this hotel, they were all beyond helpful, friendly and accommodating. We were able to spend several night in Suite 13, their Wedding Suite, to which words and pictures cannot do justice.
Suite 13 is accessed up a stone stairway, the rustic wooden doors open to reveal a multi level cave system made up of several rooms, all so elegant and gorgeous in their simplicity.
A luxurious bath with the softly scented natural products provided, whilst enjoying a glass of local red wine, with the open fire crackling in the corner of the room, will be an abiding memory.
The view from the balcony, with simple shutter, across the ravine took your breath away each time you took time just to stand and enjoy it.
Time seemed to drift gently when we were in the Rock Church - Breakfast Room, whether it was for the delicious array of simple, local produce at breakfast, the evening apperative, or just a restorative coffee at the end of another wander around the World Heritage Site here.
The hotel arranged a walking tour for us with local, knowledgeable guide Alessio Leardi. He was so passionate about the story of this unique place and gave us a real insight into not just the architecture and history, but lives and emotions of locals over the years, also pointing out the tiniest details which could be easily missed. This was the perfect way to start our time in Matera and we thank him for bringing it alive to us.
We would love to come back one day, and see how the gentle restoration of the abandoned caves is doing, and hope and pray that this whole place keeps its unique identity and is populated more with locals than tourists.
I stayed in this hotel in February when there were few guests and the room rate was, I felt, a bargain. I loved the peaceful, womb-like atmosphere of my cave bedroom despite its large size and the simple, beautiful pieces of heavy furniture. The nightly ritual of lighting the candles and soaking in a bath, using the locally-made liquid soap (my skin has never felt so soft and smooth) was the prelude to a wonderful night's sleep in the large, comfortable bed. A fantastic breakfast is served each morning in the equally atmospheric deconsecrated cave church. Delightful, kind, helpful, English-speaking staff.
In the heart of the Sassi in a series of adjacent beautifully restored caves, this hotel is providing a truly exceptional experience. “Welcome to your executive cave” is not something one usually hears when checking in to a hotel room! Despite some bitterly cold weather outside , the room was cozy and comfortable. Lit mostly by plentiful candles it was inviting and rather romantic despite the difficult history of the Sassi. All the staff we met were exceptionally charming and clearly proud of the place and what it stands for. The location makes easy walking access to the Duomo and on from there into the old town. Lots of sights and restaurants nearby. The breakfast room (and breakfast) are lovely and the evening aperitifs in front of the open fire are almost a meal in themselves and very reasonably priced. Some excellent cake too! Valet Parking is off site but efficient. All in all, quite an experience.
We are so glad we had the experience of staying at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita for two nights. Visiting the Sassi area of Matera is a trip back in time. The city is made up of caves where people lived for centuries, and which has now been restored with hotels, restaurants, museums and shops. We were fortunate to stay in one of these unique places in a grotto which was warm (heated floors), comfortable and different than anything we've ever experienced before. The staff was so friendly and helpful with information on the history of Matera, as well as places to see and dine.
Their breakfast was delicious and plentiful, with lots of homemade goodies, juices and espresso. Matera has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has also been chosen as the European Cultural Capital for 2019. Our stay at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita exceeded our expectations, and we strongly recommend a stay there.
We were only able to book one night in the grotto, but it was well worth it. The room was gorgeous, gothic yet with a warm charm, and the view outside our front door was amazing. We totally did not mind the lack of TV, the bare stone felt great in the heat of August, and the room amenities were nice. the breakfast and happy hour were also great. The walk into town was short although quite a lot of steps up and down, so just something to be aware of; we liked the exercise to burn off all the pasta and wine : ). Everyone at the hotel was very friendly and hospitable. They also assisted us with restaurants for lunch and dinner place.