If you’re off to spend a blissful few days in Matera, that can only mean one thing: you’re a complete and utter history lover! Situated in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, this city has been around since the tenth millennium BC, and is considered one of the oldest known settlements in the whole world. Marvelling at Matera’s old-world charm is enough to make every avid explorer’s jaw drop; it’s guaranteed to further fuel your travel thirst. Lucky for you, the surrounding region is laden with historical gems that give you an authentic and incredibly beautiful insight into Puglia and Basilicata’s past and present. On our scenic one-hour airport transfer from Bari to Matera, we’ll start you off with four of our favourites. As these momentous cities, towns and natural wonders zoom past you, you’ll want to start planning your historical excursions in the area… if you haven’t done so already!
20 minutes into your journey, you’ll spot a city whose whitewashed stone buildings and grand city centre give off a distinctly similar vibe to that of Matera. Don’t be fooled, though: our transfers from Bari to Matera are quick, but they’re not that quick! The city of Modugno you’ll find yourself passing through, however, is equally intriguing: it’s been around since ancient times, exhibiting signs of Byzantine and Norman rule in centuries past. Seeing the eclectic mix of structures that define the cityscape, some of which date back to the eighth century, feels like entering a time warp – and a thoroughly captivating one at that. The following attractions might catch your eye:
- The Municipal Palace and its accompanying Benedictine bell tower and cloister
- The magnificent Church of Santa Maria Santissima Annunziata, adorned with a bell tower and an original Renaissance painting by Bartolomeo Vivarini
- The eighth-century Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Grotta
- The Byzantine churches of Sant’Antonio and San Giovanni Battista, dating back to the fourteenth century
Recommended Visit Time: Half-Day Trip. Why not stop off for lunch in one of the quaint restaurants before you scope out the historical highlights?
If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, a little excursion to Toritto hits the nail right on the head. Situated only a few minutes south of Modugno and from the Adriatic Sea, this tiny town has a mysterious history – little is known about its origins, but it’s believed that it’s been around as long as 1,200 years. Along with enjoying a picturesque stroll among its olive and almond trees (of which there are more than you can count), you’ll love venturing off the beaten historical path by paying these attractions a visit:
- The Church of Madonna della Stella, an eleventh-century wonder
- The Mother Church, dedicated to the Christian Saint Nicholas in the fifteenth century
- The sixteenth-century Watchtower (Torre dell’Orologio), whose bells chime every hour
Although little is known about many of the town’s highlights, that’s part of the fun: you can play out all of the intriguing possibilities in your head… or ask a local for more information!
Recommended Visit Time: Half-Day Trip.
3. Foresta di Mercadante
About halfway through your transfer from Bari to Matera, be sure to ask your driver about the Foresta di Mercadante. If this well-known forest is not on your holiday bucket list, you’ll certainly want to add it to the top once you’ve heard more about it. Albeit not culturally historical, its amazing variety of flora and fauna tell the story of the region’s natural environment. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, there’s no better place to go: after all, this forest is frequently called “the lung of Bari”, and happily welcomes hikers into its verdant midst at any time of year. So, why not lace up your hiking boots, pack a lunch and immerse yourself in the forest’s oaks, pine trees, orchids and wild flowers?
Recommended Visit Time: Half- or Full-Day Trip. You can be as ambitious as you like – the area is vast, so you could hike for hours on end.
Although you’ll probably start looking forward to reaching your accommodation towards the end your transfer, there’s one more charming city for you to spot! Altamura, our fourth and final highlight, is only a short drive away from Matera, making for a quick and convenient day trip. There’s no better way to get a true taste of this hilltop city than by sampling its delectable bread. Known as Pane di Altamura, this crispy delicacy is so popular that it’s sold all across Italy – but it’s best in its place of origin, of course. When you stroll into one of the local bakeries, the mouth-watering smell will be enough to convince you that this bread is something special. What’s more, it goes with everything, so you can try it with anything from jam to prosciutto.
While Altamura’s bread is reason enough to visit, history enthusiasts will be able to sink their teeth into a range of other splendid attractions. Don’t miss out on the following:
- Ancient caves and tombs, featuring remnants of terracotta drawings and vases
- A Romanesque-style cathedral with a gorgeous rose window, dating back to the thirteenth century
- Approximately 30,000 dinosaur footprints!
Top Tip: Altamura borders on the Alta Murgia National Park, which you may also want to visit during your trip.
Recommended Visit Time: Half-Day for seeing the sights of Altamura, full-day if you’d like to continue on to the national park.
From Bari to Matera
Our transfer from Bari to Matera may only be an hour long, but it’s laden with exciting holiday inspirations from start to finish. If your travel itch drives you outside of Matera, the momentous beauty of these four destinations promises not to disappoint. Which one will you explore first?
About Shuttle Direct
If you’re travelling in Europe or North Africa, Shuttle Direct has got you covered. From picking you up at the airport to taking you to your destination, this transfer service stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to dependability, convenience and price. Book your private, shared or group transfer on the easy-to-use website today!
NB. This route guide has been compiled as an aid to visiting the region. Your airport transfer service from Bari to Matera does not include stops to these destinations.