Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita
At a Glance
Step back in history with a stay in this authentic medieval town
'Le Grotte' means the caves: the hotel is entirely composed of ancient troglodyte dwellings
Delicious breakfast made from local produce is served daily in an ancient church
Matera is a fascinating and beautifully preserved part of the history of Southern Italy
Friendly and easy going staff will ensure you enjoy a comfortable stay at this fascinating and unusual hotel
As the 'Albergo Diffuso' is in the center of the town there are plenty of great restaurants close by
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The climate is generally warm sunny and dry in April/May and again in October with the risk of the odd shower of rain. Sometimes it can be cool in the evenings. By June the weather settles in a pattern of long hot sunny days and balmy evenings especially in July and August when it can get a bit humid. Rain is unlikely but it can happen from time to time. June and September are particularly pleasurable months.
A stay at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is a truly special experience. Located in the UNESCO world heritage listed town of Matera, the rooms and public areas of the hotel are found in the caves and grottoes of the fascinating ancient troglodyte city.
The Sassi di Matera (meaning stones of Matera) are ancient cave dwellings in the city of Matera, Basilicata. The city has been continuously inhabited since prehistoric times, and is believed to have first been settled around 9000 years ago, making it one of the first human settlements in Italy.
In the 1950s, the Italian government forcefully relocated most of the population in the Sassi to areas of the developing modern city. Since then many of the cave churches and subterranean dwellings in the Sassi have been preserved and restored. The hotel 'Le Grotte della Civita' is located in the oldest part of the Sassi, and each of its 18 rooms is located in one of the original cave dwellings.
The hotel calls itself an 'Albergo Diffuso', which means that the rooms and suites are spread out on several levels around the central common area and dining room, which is housed in a lovingly restored 'rock church', used as a place of worship in the middle ages.
Bedrooms and bathrooms, and even washbasins, are hewn from the rock itself, giving the hotel an eerie yet romantic feel. In order to provide its guests with proper standards of luxury, the listed historic site was meticulously taken apart, entirely wired and piped and finally reassembled with each stone replaced in its original location, so although guests sleep in caves on bed bases of rock in candlelight, standards of comfort are not compromised.
Le Grotte della Civita has no televisions or minibars in the rooms, and you won't find armies of uniformed waiters and porters at your beck and call. A stay here, does, however, promise a truly unique experience in a very special historic place.
There are 18 caves at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita which fall into four categories: Executive Suite, Suite, Superior and Classic. The caves are very basic as they retain their original features, some have larger windows than others, but all offer fabulous views of the surrounding national park. The under floor heating and fireplaces make them cosy during the colder nights. Two of the rooms have showers, the remaining have bath tubs.
Classic rooms at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita range in size from 30 - 35 sqm, and contain either a queen or king-sized bed. Two rooms contain walk-in showers, however some feature stand-alone bathtubs.
Measuring between 45 to 70 sqm, Superior rooms at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita are spacious and comfortable. Each features a king-sized bed and stand-alone bathtub.
The Suites at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita measure between 70 to 150 sqm, and include one family suite with a king-sized bed and two single beds. Each contains a stand-alone bathtub, and some also provide walk-in showers. Some of the suites have a relaxing living area, while others have private balconies.
Executive Suites measure from 80 to 160 sqm, and each contains a stand-alone bathtub, while some also provide walk-in showers. One Executive Suite (the Bridal Suite) is a multi-level room, which also contains a fireplace.
Children of all ages are welcome to come and stay at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita. Extra beds and cots can be provided and babysitting can be arranged upon request.
The hotel serves a delicious breakfast in the ancient 13th century Cave Church. Local products are used to make delicious pastries and tarts. Basilicata cheeses, salamis, breads, seasonal fruits, eggs and delicious jams and marmalades are on offer. Service is friendly and unfussy.
Fixtures and fittings in the dining room are simple and in keeping with the atmosphere of the rustic setting. Lunch and dinner at the hotel can be arranged with advance booking only. There are great dining options in the Sassi within walking distance of the hotel.
The hotel can organize spa treatments in the haven of your own cave, the calming environment will take you away to a different world and leave you feeling peaceful and relaxed.
During your stay at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, you can acquaint yourself with the history of this fascinating part of Italy, visiting the monuments and sights of the heritage site with a local expert.
With a rental car guests can use the hotel as a base for exploring unspoiled Basilicata and Puglia.
James Ferguson (Staff)
This is most of the most unusual hotels I have ever been to, and in one of the most fascinating cities. If you've never slept in a cave before, here's the place to try it for the first time!
Location & directions
Matera is in the south of Italy and it is renowned for its Sassi quarters. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993 and consists of a preserved village where hundreds of caves have been restored into dwellings.