Cammino Materano from Bari to MateraPuglia & BasilicataDifficulty path:
Once used by wayfarers and traders, it is now a 170 km-long route in a part of Italy still little known to mass tourism, but surprising for its scenic, historical and architectural richness.
Without forgetting the food and wine marvels that will brighten your stops: baked delights, top quality olives and oil, legumes, fresh and aged cheeses, local meats…all the best of the warmth of this land!
The beautiful Bari and the relics of San Nicola
A tour out of mass tourism
Clear signage along the entire route
A gastronomy made of ancient flavours
History and prehistory of Southern Italy
The spectacular nature of Matera and the Alta Murgia Park
Welcome to Bari
When you arrive in Bari, the Apulian capital will welcome you in all its beauty and uniqueness.
The typical smells and scents of the narrow streets are an invitation to immerse yourself completely in the Bari tradition. The city is a combination of styles and cultures that testify to the different dominations experienced by the city since its foundation in the Bronze Age. And, from the legendary Basilica of San Nicola, look for the old city walls to take a regenerating walk, from which you can enjoy the view of the sea and the historic center together.
Overnight in Bari.
By train from Bari to Bitetto and on foot to Cassano delle Murge
26km, +318m -100m
After a hearty breakfast, you will say goodbye to Bari to reach Bitetto by train: the first stage of the Cammino along the Via Peuceta starts here.
We are on the slopes of the Murge plateau, and the huge expanses of olive groves all around are a reminder of the excellence of this area: the Termite olive which, harvested in the phase prior to ripening, is ideal for preparing many Apulian dishes thanks to its smooth taste.
The abundance and fertility of the countryside will accompany us to the outskirts of Cassano delle Murge, where the olive trees slowly give way to oak forests, where with a little luck we can spot foxes, weasels and beech martens. In spring you can enjoy the fantastic song of blackbirds accompanying the succession of steps through Mediterranean scrub and archaeological evidence.
Before reaching today's destination, a detour can be made to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria degli Angeli, located on a hilltop and erected following the discovery of the fresco of the 'Madonna of the Angels' on a wall of the natural cave on the Murgia di Cassano.
You will spend the night in the quiet Cassano delle Murge: here the smooth black chickpea is typical, a peasant specialty cultivated as early as the end of the 19th century to compensate for the scarce availability of animal proteins, and today a Slow Food presidium.
Cassano delle Murge > Santeramo in Colle
22,5km, +370m -230m
The second stage of the Cammino Materano will let you slowly immerse yourself in the heart of the splendid Murge.
An initial stretch slightly uphill will set the tone for reaching Santeramo, located on the highest step of the plateau. Expanses of wheat cultivation as far as the eye can see characterise the plains of Le Matine, and give a foretaste of the Matera landscape, filling the landscape with colour depending on the season: this testifies to the agricultural past that made Apulia the granary of Italy.
And among the typical shrubs of the Mediterranean maquis and spontaneous and fragrant medicinal plants, you enter the Mesola Wood, once the refuge of the brigand Vituccio Servodio, one of the Robin Hoods of the "old" South.
A stretch of the Via Peuceta today follows the Apulian aqueduct, the longest in Europe, along which the link between man and nature becomes evident and harmonious by mixing natural caves and ancient farmhouses, the forest and dry stone walls. Once in Santeramo, if you eat meat, dinner is a must at one of the many 'fornelli pronti': butcher shops that in the evening become quaint, spartan taverns.
Overnight stay in Santeramo in Colle.
Santeramo in Colle > Altamura
23km, +250m -260m
With today's stage, you enter more and more into the millennial history of these lands.
You will pass by Cava Pontrelli, a place discovered 'by chance' with 30,000 dinosaur footprints of no less than 200 different animals dating back 70-80 million years. And from here you can see the Fornello rock site, which preserves the remains of ancient cisterns and underground cavities, resting places for flocks and shepherds passing through in the more recent past.
These are the lands inhabited by the Altamura Man, whose fossil was found at the Lamalunga cave and whose history can now be discovered at the National Archaeological Museum.
You can take a break at the Masseria Scalera, in a rustic and family-run environment, which sells the cheese of its animals.
From the steppe of the Alta Murgia, the last stretch follows an ancient medieval cart road leading to the lively Altamura. Here bread is an ancient art, and today Altamura PDO bread is a Slow Food Presidium. You will smell its fragrance as you discover the cloisters among the narrow streets of the ancient medieval town.
Overnight stay in Altamura.
Altamura > Gravina in Puglia
20km, +170m -300m
Today a rather simple stage, but we still recommend starting with a good supply of water and in an energetic good mood after trying the very delicate nun's tit from the Pasticceria Monastero Di Santa Chiara.
Immersed again in the luxuriant Apulian countryside, long expanses of grass peas and lupins will surround you and you will see numerous buzzards in flight. You will cross a small wood and an ancient paved road to arrive at the entrance to Gravina in Puglia, another town with a thousand-year history. The rupestrian environments dug into the rock will take the place of the long wheat fields and from the balcony adjacent to the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta you will enjoy the view of the underlying rupestrian habitat. Walkways and underground places make Gravina a city to be discovered even in the basement.
Overnight stay in Gravina in Puglia.
Gravina > Santuario di Picciano
30/15km, +580/300m -500/230m
Today a demanding stage but full of evocative panoramas.
From the imposing Ponte Acquedotto with a view of the Gravina torrent, you go up and then down to Bosco Difesa Grande, one of the largest in Puglia. Traveling through the woods you will leave Puglia behind and the small hamlet of Borgo Picciano will mark the arrival in Basilicata. At that point begins a long climb to be covered calmly and cautiously especially on the long hairpin bends, surrounded by dense vegetation of eucalyptus, oak and conifers, to arrive in front of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Picciano.
This place ruled by Benedictine monks was dear to both the Templars and the Knights of Malta, but even before that by the shepherds from Abruzzo who led their flocks here in transhumance. It is an oasis of peace, a center of prayer and inner listening, ideal for recharging the batteries in view of the last stages.
From here you will move with a short private transfer to a welcoming Masseria for dinner and overnight stay, and for five-star hospitality!
→ You can shorten the stage to 15km by requesting us a transfer from the Terra Rossa area, which will be paid on site (approximately 12 € per person).
Santuario Picciano> San Giuliano Oasis
23km, +190m -500m
After a rich and healthy breakfast in the farmhouse you will be taken again to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Picciano to resume the journey towards Matera.
Today's stage is a totally naturalistic one where, immersed in the greenery of ancient Lucania, you descend the gentle and delicate slopes of the Bosco di Picciano to arrive on the shores of Lake San Giuliano. In the numerous inlets of the lake it is possible to glimpse many species of birds and birds of prey. Here in August 2006 a fossil skeleton of a Pleistocene whale was found which suggests the extraordinary importance of the site in prehistoric times.
Overnight in a farmhouse overlooking the lake.
San Giuliano Oasis > Matera
23km, +500m -232m
An awakening amidst the chirps of the friendly guests of the San Giuliano oasis will give the right amount of serenity and energy to enjoy the last stage of the Cammino Materano on the ancient Via Peuceta.
Leaving the dense vegetation behind you will come across the Crypt of Original Sin, a triumph of frescoes depicting moments from Genesis and the lives of saints.
A final uphill stretch and a splendid view of Matera will open up in front of you, with the bell tower soaring between the green Basilicata and the colors of the stone.
Welcome to the City of Stones! final destination of this journey. Here, among the alleys and houses skilfully carved into the rock, it will seem like entering a Nativity scene as evidence of a past that remains fixed in an eternal photograph.
Overnight stay in Matera
After breakfast end of services.
Matera can be fully considered the symbol of a rural civilization which redeems a past of poverty but manages to keep its authentic traditions alive.
Getting lost in the narrow streets that intertwine and climb among the Sassi is the best way to get to know it: in fact, it is not infrequently possible to come across one of the many churches carved into the tuff.
Here, too, there are countless food and wine specialities, from the surprising 'peperoni cruschi' to traditional poor dishes: is this the ideal season to choose the 'hot cialledda' - made with stale bread, egg and seasonal vegetables - or the 'cold cialledda' - bread moistened with tomatoes, red onion and oregano?
Tour programme variations
Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday.
Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each walker can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.
Our offer includes
- 8 nights with breakfast in shared double/twin room
- Private transfer to/from Picciano on day 6 and 7
- 1 dinner day 6
- Travel App (maps, tracks, route notes)
- Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
- Phone assistance 08:00-20:00
- Transfer IN and Transfer OUT
- Other meals and drinks
- Entrance fees and tips
- Hotel tourist taxes
- Insurance and what's not listed as “Included”
Departures and prices
Supplements per person
The complete Cammino Materano from Bari to Matera has a total length of 170 km to be completed in 7 splendid stages on foot.
The length of a walking day ranges from a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 30 km, with sometimes significant differences in height, so the tour is suitable for anyone with good walking training.
Along the entire route there is excellent signage in yellow and green, present in a homogeneous and widespread way. The route is a mixture of dirt and paved roads, with little shelter from the sun. In general, the climate is mild, often until December; the coldest and rainiest months are January, February and March, without ever being extreme. Spring and autumn are good seasons to set off, but with the right equipment and a few precautions, this route can be tackled at any time.
We recommend to wear comfortable walking shoes, better if trekking boots, and to bring with you a hat, drinking water, sun cream and a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
The pilgrimage offers simple accommodation in central B&Bs and 3* hotels.
All rooms are ensuite.
- 1 night in Bari
- 1 night in Cassano Murge
- 1 night in Santeramo in Colle
- 1 night in Altamura
- 1 night in Gravina in Puglia
- 1 night in Picciano
- 1 night in Oasi San Giuliano
- 1 night in Matera
8 breakfasts and 1 dinner included.
→ We will take care of your luggage while you are walking.
For the whole duration of your tour, you can contact our assistance numbers.
A few days before departure you will receive by email the Service List with instructions for using the Travel App.
Upon your arrival, ask at reception for the info pack with:
- updated Service List;
- luggage Labels;
Reaching Bari is very easy. It is inserted in all the best circuits and roads between North and South of Italy.
BY AIR. Bari Palese airport is connected with the most important Italian and foreign cities by the main airlines and the low cost ones. It is well connected with many flights, to the city centre by Metro and train approximately every 20 minutes. More info on the website Aeroporti di Puglia.
BY BUS. Bari is also accessible by bus. Here some links to the major operating companies: Marinobus, Baltour & Flixbus, Busmiccolis, Buscenter.
BY CAR. The main highways are the A14 Bologna-Taranto and the A16 Napoli-Canosa. maps.google.com can help you with the directions.
Back to Bari
From Matera you can reach Bari by trains or buses of Ferrovie Appulo Lucane.
→ If you prefer to travel in total comfort, you can book a private transfer on the days of arrival and departure.