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Hiking Around Matera

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Sep 8th, 2014, 11:07 AM
  #1
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Hiking Around Matera

I am hoping to visit Matera and tbd points in Puglia next spring. I keep coming across mention of some cave-to-cave hikes you can do just outside Matera. I believe the name is Parco delle Chiese Rupestri di Matera, If anyone has visited this trail, or done any hiking in the vicinity of Matera, please share your experiences.
Is Franco still around? I read his 2011 trip report (http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-revisited.cfm), and he mentioned it being difficult to find a guide, with the park having other issues. I am worried facilities such as trail marking may not be as good as in other parks I have visited in Italy. Since what we can do outside Matera (and independently vs with a guide) will determine how many nights we stay there, I am doing some preliminary research.
If you happen to have visited the nearby the Alta Murgia National Park, I would be interested in hearing anything about that as well--impressive trails or base towns in particular.
thanks in advance!
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Sep 8th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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I have walked through the Parco delle Chiese Rupestri di Matera with a native of Matera. It is not so much a hiking destination as it is an historic area. The origins of Matera are here in the way that water was channelled to what later became the city and there are remnants of chapels and sanctuaries hidden in the rocks (generally locked). Otherwise it is a barren area rocky area. If you can stand to watch Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ you can probably see pictures of it. (Sort of looks what you might already imagine Calvary would look like.)

I have never been to the ravine in Laterza but it might be more along the lines of what you are looking for. (It is in Puglia but right near the border of Basiliacata).

http://www.oasilipugravinadilaterza.it/

Also it is really not a long drive at all to the Lucanian Dolomiti area of Basilicata if you are starting in Matera. I wouldn't do it as a hiking day trip but if you have a night or two to give it then this is a true hiking region with some stunning scenery and impossibly perched towns.

http://www.parcogallipolicognato.it/

http://www.dimoracavalieri.it/eng/web/item.asp?nav=33

You would definitely need some guidance about the weather and seasons there. This is an unusual landscape (the ravines too).
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Sep 8th, 2014, 03:35 PM
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in case you don't have this

http://www.viaggiareinpuglia.it/tara...n-di-puglia/en
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Sep 9th, 2014, 08:23 AM
  #4
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Thank you so much, I am beginning to understand what you meant about so many appealing places in Baslicata--another trip to come I guess!
I was envisioning that part of Matera as something like the church valleys in Turkey, where you walk, enter a church, walk, etc. It sounds like the infrastructure may not be there.
I will bookmark these and continue my research.
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Sep 9th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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it is has been a very long time since I was in Turkey -- I went as a teenager! -- and I mainly have memories of mosques and Roman ruins and exotic pre-mass tourism baths and beaches -- so I can't confirm your impressions.

However, when visiting Matera with a car I found it extremely rewarding to also vista the "Cripta del Peccato Originale" about 15kms south of Matera. You are required to go with a guide who unlocks the crypt, and therefore must reserve in advance.

http://www.criptadelpeccatooriginale.it

I found everything about Basilicata appealing -- landscape, food, wine, history. It was just a quirk, I'm sure, but when crossed the border from Puglia to Basilicata (coming from Taranto) I found myself on a highway filled with butterflies. And driving from Matera to Paestum, I was shocked by the sheer beauty of the dramatic scenery. The towns and cities I glimpsed looked very organized. I plan to return but continue to find it extremely difficult to track down information about hotels, sights, etc. I guess I will just need to pick a nice weather frame and plunge in.
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