Sassi (they pronounce it like “saucy”) Matera Italy was a fantastic stop. We should have allowed more time there. Before I tell all about how amazing it is there allow me to review our arrival.
Brad and I have been using all the public transportation we can. We don’t normally fly except long haul because we enjoy the journey as much as the destination. For our trip from Naples to Matera we selected bus transportation. We have traveled by bus plenty in Mexico and have really enjoyed it. The seats are comfy, they recline, and often there are few passengers so it feels less crowded. Our bus to Matera was a double decker and we we on the upper seating area so our views were quite nice.
We traveled for about four hours through really lovely Italian countryside. I didn’t think of Italy as having so much “country” or farmland/open space. I should have but we have been so focused on our destination it came as a delightful surprise. It is really pretty.
We arrived not at the bus/train station as we expected but a random dirt parking lot. Of course we didn’t know it was random. So when a taxi pulled up and asked if we needed a ride we declined. After all we are now intrepid world travelers who don’t require taxis. Hmm. We pulled on our packs and started walking. None of our screen shots of google maps made any sense at all. Almost immediately we regret turning away the taxi. I see signs for Sassi but Brad (smartly) suggested we stop at the nearby police station to ask directions. Also by the way it’s pretty cold out. Maybe 45 degrees with a fierce chilling wind so I am plenty happy to get inside anywhere!
Well the police station seemed inaccessible so we opted for the bar next door (we feel smart traveling includes a bar on occasion). We order a whiskey each and begin asking the bartender for directions.
Matera is located near the “instep” of the boot when looking at a map of Italy. It is a bit remote at least from the big tourist spots so I think English is not a priority there understandably. We eventually were able to get our meaning across to the bar keep and he simple and practically suggested a taxi.
Here is the amazing part about travel that I really love. When it became clear we were two distressed travelers seeking our destination a nice gentleman at the bar offered a ride. Now normally I don’t jump into strangers cars, but in this case it seemed fine. This man was such a fantastic ambassador for Matera.
He not only took us to the area of town we needed to be in but he also showed us the actual train station, did a quick drive by the local castle and when we reached our destination he got out of his car and showed off the amazing and lovely view, all the while describing it in Italian! In fact our experience of the people in Matera was incredible, they were so friendly and helpful. Of course we may just seem a bit like “deer in the headlights” just begging for help but I think it is more about people’s warmth and generosity that come rising to the surface. Wonderful!