“A romantic cave hotel in rural Italy where past meets present in a spectacular and unforgettable setting”
There are 18 rooms, divided into 3 standard rooms, 9 superior rooms and 6 suites. As they are all caves, dimensions aren't uniform and they are all a little different, some with 160sq.m of floorspace, others with ceilings over 6m high. Standard rooms are slightly smaller than superior rooms and all have double beds and a shower or bath.
Suites are vast with vaulted ceilings, windows looking out on to the valley and its prehistoric landscape, plus kingsize beds, baths and showers. We hear that Suite 13 is a particular gem, part of a deconsecrated church with angel-shaped indents in the walls, flooded with natural light from a balcony overlooking the dramatic valley beyond.
Taking your heavy key in hand, you’ll be led down to your cave where a large bowl of cherries, bottle of chilled water and roaring fire await. The designers employed extreme attention to detail to create rooms that combine contemporary comfort with historical detail, so you’ll find antique wooden blanket boxes and wardrobes, beds laden with handmade linen, much of it from dowries, and handcrafted natural soaps and scented essential oils stand in beautiful apocathery-styled glass bottles. The walls are bare and unadorned and the furniture is plain, allowing the space to speak for itself - but central heating ensures you'll be snug in your cave. Clusters of cream-coloured pillar candles are lit as dusk falls and fires roar in their ancient grates.
Bathrooms are a nod to the new however; the previous inhabitants didn’t have any. They are minimal, using simple, formal elegance to create something that doesn’t clash with the ancient beauty of the caves; so white egg-shaped baths rest in the corner of the bedroom alongside large ceramic basins.
The hotel's Tasting Room restaurant is sure to be a particular highlight of your trip, as is exploring the winding streets of Matera in search of trattoria. There are great echoes of the traditional peasant house here - a place where you’d always find a friendly hearth at the heart of the home. In the intimate restaurant created in a rock-hewn church, small tables cluster by the fire and intimate nooks carved out of the cave make romantic dining spots and the flavour is defiantly local and rustic. Under the arched stone ceiling you can dine on fresh pasta, organic cheeses, bruschetta, fried aubergine and courgette and cured meat. We hear the chef’s panacotta is a particular delight.
Breakfast is an unmissable event too - an expansive banquet of freshly squeezed orange juice, local bread, honey, jam, ham, fruit, cakes and jasmine tea. The butter comes presented in true rural peasant style, hidden inside a coating of scamerza cheese, which kept it cool in the days before fridges.
Lunch is available on request, and you may not like to eat in every night, but with local restaurants just a stone’s throw away, there is plenty of pleasure to find in exploring the town’s delicacies. Many, like La Taipa and Ristorante le Botteghe, serve local specialities such as broad bean and chicory puree and exquisite balsamic vinegar. Granita and gelati are also easily found. One of the best picnic spots we’ve seen is in the remote prehistoric landscape of Murgia park.
Children of all ages are welcomed, with extra beds free of charge in the Superior and Suite. Please note additional bed is not available for the Standard cave. However, it's not well suited to toddlers, since there are many hazards like uneven floors and stairs that they could fall down if not closely monitored.
Teens (over 12)
Suites 4 or 8 are best, with lots of space