October 28, 2017 for 3 nights for 2 adults.
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Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita in Matera, Italy
The sassi of Matera – ancient cave dwellings carved into the soft volcanic rock – are believed to be some of the first human settlements in Italy, and are what constitutes Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita. Inhabited until the 1950s, when Carlo Levi’s Christ stopped at Eboli created a national scandal and the inhabitants were relocated to more modern dwellings, they are now the location of one of Italy's alberghi diffusi. The alberghi diffusi are hotels distributed over existing buildings in the centers of Italian towns. They have a central reception area and café and are part of a community so that guests may be integrated into local life.
Warm your toes as you walk across a stone floor paved with rock from the nearby Murgia River Gorge. (Masons lifted the stone piece by piece to install radiant heating.) Break your fast with zucchini and honey scones before navigating the ancient passageways of the town on a historical walking tour of Matera's centuries of civilization, or hike the Lucanian Dolomites to a Saracen fortress. For dinner, wander to a deconsecrated, candlelit church to feast on pasta fatta a mano from organic, local ingredients. End your day with a rose-scented dip in a stand-alone tub filled with water piped from ancient cisterns.
Location of Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita
Nearest Airport: BRI
Amenities for Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita
- General Information
- 18 Guest Rooms
- Organic Cuisine
- Healthy Cuisine
- On-Site Amenities
- Spa Services
- In-Room Spa Services
- Nature Walks
- Cultural Tours
- Nature Hikes
- Business Center/Services
- Meeting Rooms
- Conference Facilities
- Historic Sites
Reviews for Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita
Went here as part of a group. There are a number of things you need to know about Sextant and Matera in general. It is in a poor region of Italy and the old part of Matera was abandoned from the mid 50s until fairly recently. Sextant is a charitable trust rather than a profit making hotel and does not aim to be a top end 5* establishment. The rooms are simple, all different and have charm in spades. The beds are comfortable and the bathrooms are modern most with baths and showers though some only have baths (they are very nice baths though). The dining room is the old cave church and is very authentic. There is an outside seating area where drinks and canapĂ©s can be taken and breakfast in warm weather. there is no real communal comfy seating area. The rooms are minimally lit for authenticity and much of the room lighting is with candles. There is heating and WiFi but many of the trappings of high end hotels are missing such as televisions, mini bars and music devices. This is a conscious omission to enhance the aesthetic and the atmosphere. The floors are of simple hewn stone and are very irregular but again this adds to the authenticity. This is a great hotel and a wonderful conservation project but there are some downsides. The hot water is not all that hot so showers were OK but it was not really hot enough to enjoy the bath. the hotel really needs to address this point. I think it is the single biggest negative. Our room was overheated, the thermostat being up between 24 & 26 degrees even when it was cool outside and it can only be controlled from reception. We did request it be turned down but the heater stayed on full blast and so we had to open the windows all the time which seems a bit counterintuitive. The hotel itself is really a collection of cave dwellings turned into rooms and as such it is quite spread out with town thoroughfares coming through the middle. This did lead to some random folk wandering around the courtyard and patio areas and in some instances actually coming into the rooms as if thinking they were reception or open as exhibits. The keys are fantastic but you wouldn't wish to carry one around all day so handing them in to reception is a must as they are huge. Lastly, for the most part, the staff were very friendly and helpful and clearly quite passionate about the hotel and what it sets out to achieve but there was one slightly bad tempered individual who seemed reluctant to allow us to purchase drinks after about 11pm. We were not permitted to drink indoors as he was "Setting up for breakfast" but when we went outside we were asked not to talk or laugh as we were apparently upsetting the other guests. We were a party of 15 and were trying to have a good time so it was a shame that in the end we were all forced to have early nights every night. This is not a hotel for the elderly or immobile, for those looking to party or for those for whom only luxury will do. If you like atmosphere and history, if you want to immerse yourself in a dwelling of another time and culture, if you value conservation it is for you. Should you stay there? Absolutely.
RichardVUK - UK
A small group of us have just had an enchanting experience in this unique hotel. Each suite comprises a series of candles caves. There is also astutely hidden wiring and heating. The management staff are thoroughly professional, friendly and most helpful. It is a far cry from the odious experience we had at the Hotel des Armateurs in Normandy, where the Manager (to the embarrassment of some of his staff ) was unbearably rude and unprofessional. It was transparently clear that he was a graduate of the FawltyTowers School of Hotel Management. We are experienced travellers and we strongly advise that if visiting Normandy, avoid staying at this hotel. But back to this hotel which is the focus of this review! The hotel is beautifully maintained, the beds exceptionally comfortable, the linen and towels are crisp and fresh, and the breakfasts are exceptional. All of us recommend this delightful hotel without qualification.
ThakurSahibMelbourne - Melbourne, Australia
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is quite simply, an incredible place. Lovingly built inside the caves of Matera, it is located in the perfect area. Easy to drive to and literally in the middle of an UNESCO heritage site. The first time you open your door with an old key and the cave walls are flickering with the golden candlelight, you will be smitten. It's romantic, fun, and incredibly relaxing. Sleeping in a cave is deep and restful. I enjoyed imagining the original purpose for each hole and niche carved into the stone walls. It's humbling to think that people were living here into the 1950s in horrible circumstances, yet here we were in a luxury suite just a few years later. Yes, Matera has come a long way. The large stone veranda that fronts Sextantio is rightly part of the living space. You will find yourself spending time out there, meeting other visitors from around the world. Do sit here in the evenings and taste the many wines of Basilicata. (I recommend the Re Manfredi bianco) Looking out from the veranda is an activity in itself. The views are incredible. Really, everyone here is in such a good mood. It's a playground for adults. Both Sextantio and Matera deserve at least a two night stay. I know you are making decisions about how long to stay in each location of your visit to Basilicata and Puglia. I am so glad we stayed two nights. The service was fantastic. The concierge was spot on. Cave #10 was frequently remarked as a particularly beautiful room. We were blessed to stay there. Thank you Sextantio for the memories of a lifetime!
Christopher T - Eustis, Florida
Situated in caves from the Sassi people of Matera this hotel has numerous caves that were once used as dwellings - no two "rooms" are alike! Some have verandas ect and all need an ancient type key to enter! After you enter its wooden door you are in a real cave! But with 21st century amenities- the breakfast was extraordinary the workers were superb- this is a must see location!!!!!!!
tonyc5 - Kinnelon, New Jersey
Fantastic location, amazing rooms and utterly wonderful staff who could not have done more to be helpful make this a stunning hotel. First they served the best Campari and sodas we have ever had. Then we had the dinner in the deconsecrated church which was spellbinding in both setting and quality. We didn't finish until midnight and couldn't have eaten a morsel more. Consequently due to being full, a late night and an electrical storm the next morning we didn't come downstairs until 11.30 long after breakfast had officially finished. The staff had not wanted to wake us and instead had been so thoughtful that they had set up a little breakfast in the church if we needed it which was so kind and way above the call of duty. Matera itself was also fantastic. A magical experience from beginning to end!!!
Mark K - London