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nygvic0326 Dec 15th, 2014 01:44 PM

We will be in Naples from the 27th of February until the 1st of March. On the morning of the 2nd our plans are to head to Matera for 2 nights and then have an additional 2 nights before returning to Salerno / Amalfi.

The bus / train combination to Matera takes some 4 hours and is not as frequent limiting flexibility (the same for a return), thus the thought to rent a car in either Naples or Salerno and drive to Matera utilizing 4 nights round trip. 2 in Matera and 2 in ???

We would spend the 3rd-4th in Matera and then head back towards Amalfi Coast area with a 2 night stop off on the 5th and 6th somewhere. The 7th we would then drop car in Salerno or Naples and taking public transportation to Amalfi (not driving Amalfi route myself) where we will stay 3 nights before heading to Rome and then USA.

My questions are as follows :

1- Suggestion for 2 nights (5th and 6th) after Matera as a place to stop for sightseeing.
2 - Is the car choice more practical than public transportation given schedule frequency

The driving force behind all of this is the desire to see Matera as we have never been in this part of Italy before.

Appreciate feedback you can give. Thanks !!

tuscanlifeedit Dec 15th, 2014 02:38 PM

Having been to Matera by car and by train, I say get the car. We had to get a car service to make a train when leaving, but it is possible. However, it doesn't help with using your other two nights.


How about 3 nights in Matera and one night in Paestum on the way back to Salerno? Paestum is incredible.

kja Dec 15th, 2014 06:36 PM

I agree that Paestum is incredible and would add that I think Salerno a vastly underrated destination.

I think we would be better positioned to provide meaningful recommendations if you tell us what else you are seeing in the area and what your interests are.

Kristina Dec 15th, 2014 06:55 PM

I agree with the recommendation on getting the car if you are going to Matera.

My mom and I visited Matera last year and loved it. We also went to Puglia on that trip for a total of 9 days in the region. You could drive to Martina Franca and spend 2 days there (where you could see Alberobello and Locorotondo).

I also spent 2 nights in Paestum on a previous trip to Naples and enjoyed that as well, though the "town" is minuscule.

I've done trip reports on both of these trips, click on my name if you're interested.

kja Dec 15th, 2014 11:16 PM

BTW, I would consider waiting to visit Puglia until you can give it more than a couple of days. JMO. YMMV.

neckervd Dec 16th, 2014 01:37 AM

On Mondays, there are usually 4 direct buses from Naples to Matera, Naples dp 9.10, 14.00, 15.30, 17.00. The journey takes 4 1/2 hrs (Marinobus).

There are some train-bus connections via Potenza - Ferrandina too (3 hrs up to Ferrrandina).

The train ride from Naples (dp 8.17, 14.55, 18.20) to Bari takes 3 hrs 50 min; by marinobus it's 3 1/2 hrs.

Places to visit around Matera:
Castellana caves, Alberobello, Lecce, small local towns in the Murge, Murge National Park . Google for them.

sandralist Dec 16th, 2014 04:21 AM

You could have major weather issues at that time of year that could really affect the highways along that route, both for buses and cars. That is still winter and you need to transit through a mountain range and several gorges. I would try to find out more from local sources about typical weather alone that route for the first week of March. You can see looking back at recent years that Matera can get snow and significant storms in March, plus fog.

I would probably plan to go by train and, but if the weather is nice, rent a car (which you could also do in Matera) and tour the immediate area. (Bernalda, the Ionic coast, Gravina di Puglia, Venosa, the mountain towns east of Matera). I wouldn't go too far east since you need to come back west. However, depending on the weather, you could arrange to drop off the car in Bari and take a train back if you didn't want to drive back to Salerno due to bad weather.

bvlenci Dec 16th, 2014 03:26 PM

If you'll be anywhere near Bari, I highly recommend a visit to Castel del Monte, a beautiful and unusual castle designed by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 12th century.

Alberobello is also interesting, but a bit overrun with tourists. Maybe it's not so bad in March. You will see lots of trulli (the typical bee-hive shaped stone buildings in the surrounding countryside, not just in Alberobello. Some are used as farm buildings.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the Castellana caves.

nygvic0326 Mar 12th, 2015 10:16 AM

Just an update. We did rent car in Naples and drove through to Matera fro 3 wonderful nights. Incredible place. And as a bonus we got to see film crews filming for remake of Ben Hur with Morgan Freeman while we were there. Weather going over was fine but coming back some 5-6" of snow in mountains around Potenza, but we transited without issues. Paestum was fourth night and it was incredible. Well worth seeing.

My thanks to all who provided much useful feedback.

kja Mar 12th, 2015 06:05 PM

Thanks for reporting back, nygvic0326! I'm glad you enjoyed these place -- they are incredible, aren't they? :-)

tuscanlifeedit Mar 12th, 2015 06:10 PM

nygvic: I also thank you for reporting back. I'm so glad you had a great time. My family are from Matera, and I'm so enthusiastic about it.

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