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Where to stay the night between Naples and Matera

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Looking for recommendations on where to stay the night and what we should see en route between Naples and Matera.

We will arrive in Naples at noon on Thursday October 16 and need to arrive in Matera, Basilicata, sometime the next afternoon or evening. (It's a 3 hour drive, according to mappy.it)

Visiting Paestum - staying overnight near the ruins - was my first choice.

But I'm deterred the need to drive through the miles of crummy sprawl that reportedly stretch between the motorway exit and the archaeological site itself. And I did not find any accommodation that screamed out: "Must stay here!"

3 Questions:
1. Is Paestum so highly regarded that we should just ignore the charmless surroundings and so-so hotels?

2. Or can anyone suggest an alternative focus for our 24-26 hours between Naples airport and Matera?

We like scenery, history and cute towns. We don't much like crowds, so we did not really consider visiting the Amalfi Coast on this trip.

3. What about this 3rd option: Drive straight to Matera on October 16? That means we could spend a 3rd night in the region, in addition to the 2 we've already booked (on the 17th and 18th). Or is that an overly generous allocation of time?

Your views and advice, please!

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