Today, the earliest morning of the trip, we bid farewell to the lovely Locanda del Sale; we had already said our goodbyes to our hosts Nicole and Nicola and their son Achille yesterday, and it was time to make some tracks.
Liguria, where Soglio and Romaggi are located, isn’t quite at the top of Italy’s boot, but it’s close; Basilicata, the Italian region that includes Matera, is at the instep of the boot. We were driving most of the length of Italy, about 900 km (560 miles).
Our plan was to break up the trip with plenty of breaks and stretches, and we did that: the ten-hour trip took about twelve hours. It’s a lovely drive: past Rome, past Naples, past Mount Vesuvius, and then inland to Matera. The Apennines are impressive, with plenty of tall mountains to admire: some green, and others that look much like our Rockies. And Italy’s Autostrade has wonderful rest stops, with restaurants and espresso bars, so that we felt justified in eating our way down the highway.
We arrived at our B and B here, Le Stelle nei Sassi, about 7:30, and we were delighted to see how cleverly it has been designed. The Sassi are caves, and Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of la città sotterranea (“the underground city”), an ancient city built of caves. The Stelle is built in a cave as well! Very nicely done and very modern; but the walls and some ceilings of tufa rock make it clear that you’re staying in a redesigned cave. Tomorrow we plan to explore some of this fascinating place; but for now, we contented ourselves with a wonderful dinner at Cola Cola, one of the city’s many restaurants. We will sleep well tonight, and tomorrow we plan to do some exploring in this fascinating place.
Today’s picture: Although we arrived late, our brief hike to the Cola Cola was enough to show us that this is a city built on many levels. Elaine took this picture of Judy and me on the walkway above the restaurant; you can see the multilevel housing in the background, much of the facade concealing the fronts of ancient caves.