Budget travel guide to Matera

Admittedly, having had our expenses covered to travel to Matera, Italy, we didn’t have to worry quite so much about the budget as usual. For example, when travelling from Bari Airport to Matera, the most convenient cost effective method of transfer is the Pugliairbus. This goes right from outside the airport and takes you directly to town for about 3 euros. You need to book online in advance, although if there are spare seats you can book online. However, we had a private car and our lovely driver, Gianmichele, had our name on an ipad upon arrival at the airport! And we were driven in a Mercedes!! If you want to splash the cash, you can find this top notch service here.

Moving on to food and drink,we found eating out in Matera to be a tad pricey, because it’s hard to find a reasonable meal for a low price. There are innumerable Menu Tipico, or Menu Turistico, where you get a set number of courses and drinks usually with a good range of choices. Priced from about 13 euros upwards, these are not necessarily cost effective for more than the occasional treat, although they certainly do provide a good meal.

Spaccatelle at San Pietro Barisano

For one meal we ate at the San Pietro Barisano. We had the basic Menu Tipico, which was a first and second course with a side dish, a dessert, an alcoholic drink and a dessert for 15 Euros. We had the Spaccatelle and the Oriechette for Prima, then chicken and a mixed lamb and sausage platter for Seconda with insalata mixta and patate al forno for a side dish. There were two little chocolatey cakes for dessert. For the price, the food was excellent, but as I say, this was our little treat.

Outside of these menus, you’re looking to pay between 5 and 8 euro for a pizza in most places. Remember, this will be a woodfired, thin crust ‘proper’ pizza! Pasta dishes are usually slightly more expensive. There are a couple of takeaway places where you can get snacks, slices of pizza, sandwiches etc. but they are relatively few and far between. Certainly along Via Lucana there are a few places like this.

The other thing to watch out for is the cover charge, usually marked (in small print) as the coperta or coperta/pane (cover/bread). This is usually 2 euros, but that’s per person. This can take your shared 6 euro lunch pizza up to 10 euros in one fell swoop!

Serious beer sampling

In terms of drinks, again you need to watch where you go if you’re watching the pennies. Anywhere along the piazzas or down Via Fiorentini drinks are more expensive. We found quite a standard beer price around these areas to be about 3.50 or 4 euros for a bottle of beer! Therefore, my top tip is the Grotta di Bacco. They have a restaurant there, but during our visit we only went to the bar. It is by far the cheapest place to drink we found in Matera. The crowd is quite young (they were playing some spiffing reggae when we were there) and the drinks flow freely – you’re looking at 1.50 Euro for a bottle of Peroni and 2 euro for a glass of Prosecco. They also do an interesting range of wine cocktails including claiming to be the only place in Matera that does Sangria!!
Wholly recommended by us – 10 out of 10 Extreme points and indeed, 2 thumbs up!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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