Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita

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Simply furnished and lit only by candlelight, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is a perfect example of luxurious minimalism and conservational triumph; with Condé Nast identifying it as one of the “most beautiful hotels on the planet”.

Located in the heart of Matera, a UNESCO world heritage site and the capital of culture, sits the wonderfully unique Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita.

Nestled quietly within the stunning old Sassi quarters - a unique hamlet that is a phenomenally well-preserved example of a village where hundreds of caves were turned into dwellings, churches and palaces - Le Grotte della Civita is now a romantic haven and stunning cultural retreat.

Facing the spectacular Murgia park and its rock-hewn churches, this stunning boutique hotel is now comprised of 18 caved rooms, all renovated to retain their original features. Simply furnished and lit only by candlelight, this hotel is a perfect example of luxurious minimalism and conservational triumph; with Condé Nast identifying it as one of the “most beautiful hotels on the planet”.

Stunning gourmet food, in-room spa treatments, rooftop aperitivos and luxury bathroom amenities, a stay in Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Fact Sheet

Highlights:

  • A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993
  • 18 Stunning Resorted Caves
  • Chefs Only Use Organic Local Products
  • Spa Rooms & In Cave Therapies
  • Perfect example of sustainably resorted vernacular building.

Spa & Wellness:

There is nothing better in this world than finding peace with mind, body and soul. Here, you can fully relaxing with a massage treatment within the comforts of your own cave dwelling.

Fine Dining:

Dine in a deconsecrated church, lit solely by candles, with background classical music and a stunning open fireplace. The exclusive location therefore transforms into a fantastical place where guests can enjoy the Chef’s passion and local cuisine.

Sustainability:

All the Food is organic, seasonal and locally sourced; the caves’ reinvention relied on traditional methods, materials and craftsmen and all the staff are involved in regional conservation projects.

A Little Extra:

All tours and trips, including horse riding, beach days and hiking trails can be organised from the hotel reception or at time of booking.

Photo Gallery

Location:

Matera is a city in the southern Italian region of Basilicata that has attracted worldwide attention because of its Sassi quarters; a stunning and well-preserved example of a village where hundreds of caves were transformed into homes, churches, and palaces.

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993, the Sassi represent a unique hamlet throughout Italy. The earliest inhabitants of these structures date back to the stone and bronze age, and during the the middle ages it houses several monastic communities before later becoming a vibrant farming centre.

Matera is located in Basilicata region, next to Apulia region and roughly 60km from its main city Bari. The closest airport is Bari - BRI - (in Apulia approximately 40 min by car), which is well connected to most important Italian and European cities. There are daily flights from Rome to Bari.

Alternatively Matera can be reached by train or car from Naples and the Amalfi coast (270km) or from Rome (470km).

Conservation:

As a way of maintaining the architectural heritage of this building, conservation was taken seriously during the restoration. It involved agreements between private companies and local government, a profound respect for the local history, and a focus on increasing employment within the region. The combined efforts of both the public and private sectors meant that long-term sustainable economic activity was put in motion to protect the heritage of the region.

When developing the wonderful Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, they stuck to 3 essential guidelines:

  1. Maintaining the buildings original use, form and materials. I.e. the dimensions of doors and windows should not be changed, nor should the internal divisions of rooms.

  2. Architectural fittings used to replace those which have been lost are sourced from the local area. Where possible, reclaimed materials should be placed in the same context.

  3. Retaining any traces of life found in the fabric of the building.

This meant that the restoration project in the Sassi (stone caves) of Matera, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita maintained the proportion of the rooms, used original and recycled architectural materials, hid as far as possible the modern technology used for heating and plumbing, and used minimalist contemporary design solutions. As a result, designs were simple and completely sympathetic with the existing structure and the lives of the people who once lived and worked there.

This incredible project demonstrates how you can successfully restore the identity of vernacular buildings. Through a researched understanding and honesty with the buildings’ origins – combined with a touch of poetic license – you can recreate the soul of a building, even when the life lived there was one of poverty.

Overview:

The Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita project is situated in the historical heart of Matera. The 18 caves have been restored through a careful and conservative process conducted with the utmost respect for the local cultural heritage. Each cave reveals the original shape and materials.

The hotel’s interior design, the respectful and minimalistic approach of Sextantio is reflected in the plain furniture elements.The guests will experience a particular atmosphere evoking the cultural and human history of the Sassi of Matera.

3 Classic Rooms:

These comfortable and romantic caves are perfect for a short getaway. All rooms feature handmade furniture, king size beds and bathrooms decked with an exclusive shower or bathtub.

These rooms range between 30m2 - 35m2 in size.

Beds

1x King Sized Beds

Views

Parco della Murgia Materana

Occupancy

Maximum of 2 Guests

Bathroom

En-Suite Bathrooms with either Shower or Bathtub

Something Unique

On-desk welcome kit with water and fresh fruit upon arrival

7 Superior Rooms:

These charming and fanciful Superior Caves are simply delightful. Boasting big vaults overhead, king sized beds, cosy living areas and bathrooms equipped with stone sinks, showers and/or bathtubs (some room options have both), you may have found your slice of tranquillity.

What's more, the caves terraces look out onto the Murgia National Park and the Sassi di Matera and range between 45m2-70m2 in size.

Beds

1x King Sized Beds

Views

Parco della Murgia Materana

Occupancy

Maximum of 2 - 3Guests

Bathroom

En-Suite Bathrooms with either Shower and/or Bathtub

Something Unique

On-desk welcome kit with water and fresh fruit upon arrival

5 Suites:

Spectacular and evocative, these wide cave houses are stunning. Ranging between 70m2 -160m2 in size, these suites offer stunning views over the Murgia valley, offer king size beds and boasts opulent bathrooms with stone-floor showers and freestanding bathtubs.

Some caves come with a writing desk and big arch vaults leading to adjoining caves. Our personal favourite is Cave 21 due to its stunning balcony views and romantically lit bathtub.

Beds

1x King Sized Beds

Views

Parco della Murgia Materana

Occupancy

Maximum of 2 - 4 Guests

Bathroom

En-Suite Bathrooms with either Shower and/or Bathtub

Something Unique

On-desk welcome kit with water and fresh fruit upon arrival

3 Executive Suites:

These dramatic cave suites are exclusive and intimate. Ranging between 80m2-160m2 in size, all suites offer a wide living space with handmade wooden tables, king size beds and en-suite bathrooms with an exclusive shower or bathtub; some have both.

Our personal favourite is Cave 13 as it is the only cave situated over two levels. Cave 13 also boasts an open fireplace, original stone arches and panoramic views over Parco della Murgia.

Beds

1x King Sized Beds

Views

Parco della Murgia Materana

Occupancy

Maximum of 2 - 3 Guests

Bathroom

En-Suite Bathrooms with either Shower and/or Bathtub

Something Unique

On-desk welcome kit with water and fresh fruit upon arrival

Fine Dining the Basilicata Way:

Dining in a deconsecrated church - carved only out of rock - is a once in a lifetime experience. Hundreds of lit candles, an open fireplace, and classical music transform this once hallowed area into a romantically enchanting dining room, where customers can discover contemporary tastes and enjoy the chef's incredible local cuisine.

At breakfast, traditional organic local items include Matera bread, freshly baked focaccias, homemade cakes and desserts from the Matera culinary tradition; fresh seasonal fruits, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, plain yoghurt, and delectable jams and marmalades.

As night falls, local wines and snacks are presented as aperitivo, before you end the mystical church setting to experience a culinary masterpiece. After dinner, head out onto the terrace and enjoy sweeping views of the dramatic Murgia Materana.

Spa & Wellness:

There is nothing better in this world than finding peace with mind, body and soul. Here, you can fully relaxing with a massage treatment within the comforts of your own cave dwelling. With a soothing new age music backdrop, scented oils, herbal teas, and many flickering candles, the mind and body will undoubtedly be revitalised like never before.

Expert masseurs will advise on the most suitable treatment among reiki, deep connective tissue, emolymphatic, draining, couple, antistress or relaxant.

On request, you can arrange private in-room yoga or pilates lessons.

Cooking course

Test your cooking using only flour, eggs and a rolling pin! Each lesson is taught by an expert Chef in the rock hewn church dining area. Here, you will learn the ancient art of handmade pasta and discover authentic traditional Lucanian recipes to accompany your creations.

Cavatelli, Orecchiette and Calzoni are just some of the typical dishes you will prepare and taste during your time with a very local ‘cuoca’, an experienced ‘mamma’ from Matera and the following exclusive dinner.

Guided Tour To Sassi Of Matera

A day trip to the Sassi of Matera will take you on an out-of-time journey through the traces of man's continuous presence - from the Paleolithic to modern times.

During this journey, you will begin to notice the progress of human history: from dark Murgian caves that date back to our earliest ancestors to rock churches belonging to religious communities constantly searching for spiritual purification; from beautiful city lanes lined with seventeenth-century monasteries and palaces, to the large voids of deep cisterns and canals once used for the parsimonious water collection.

Night Guided Tour To The Sassi of Matera:

The visit of Sassi in a night scene has a wonderfully unique charm. During the visit you will walk along the paths that best represent the birth of Matera, its evolution, and its most suggestive sights. Here, you will experience the dim lights of narrow streets which get in between the slopes of the Sasso Caveoso and Civita; the darkness that makes the deep Gravina canyon almost invisible; the dark caves that merge with the shadows of Murgia’s hills; the squares and the sides of the floor illuminated by light.

Trekking Around Murgia

One of the most breath-taking rock landscapes in the world may be found at the Archaeological Park of Natural Rock Hewn Churches. Walking along the park paths you can find traces of man’s presence since the ancient times in order to follow its evolution in this area up to the present days and always in balance with nature.

A popular trekking route is the Belvedere trail. The Belvedere trails winds in the Gravina of Matera right in front the Sassi and allows visits to the rock churches of San Falcione, St. Agnes and the remarkable Madonna delle tre porte.

Gastronomic Tour: Bread & Mozzarella

Rise and Shine. Leaving at 7:00am, it is time to visit a typical bakery and taste some of the local products - including the famed Matera’s bread, the focaccia, and the traditional regional biscuits. Once complete you will be transported to the “caseificio” to experience the making of mozzarella by hand and partake in the “caciocavallo” cheese workshop.

Length: max 4 hours. Tasting included

Matera Cycling tour:

Enjoy a guided cycling tour departing from the Sassi, the Baroque town and some of the new Matera districts (where the Sassi inhabitants transferred in the fifties).

Length: 3 hours. Included: hybrid bike rental and tourist guide.

Grade: easy

La Via Del Calanchi

Trip to the enchanting lunar landscape in the more undiscovered Basilicata. You will stop in the abandoned village of Craco, the Rabatana in Tursi, a 5th century village, and the Anglona Sanctuary, with its medieval frescoes.

Length: max 6 hours. Transfer included, entrance fees excluded

Venosa & The Wine Cellars:

Transfer to Venosa (60 min.), birthplace of the Latin poet Horatio (Carpe Diem). Visit the Archaeological Park, the “Abbazia della Trinità” and the “Incompiuta”. Visit a typical vineyard with tasting of Aglianico (the local red wine), olive oil and the typical cheese ofthe Vulture area.

Length: max 5 hours. Transfer and wine tasting included, entrance fees excluded.

The Lucanian Dolomites:

Journey to Pietrapertosa (90min.), in the Park of Gallipoli Cognato and the Lucanian Dolomites. Head towards the Saracen fortress, almost entirely carved out of rock, which offers a marvellous panoramic view of the Basento valley. At the foot of the castle, you will follow a stunning path that enters into the forest. Heading down along the Della Rossa River you will find yourself along the Costa La Rossa ridge (1026 metres) from where you can enjoy a scenic view of the Park.

Length: max 7 hours. Transfer included.

Not available in the winter time.

Grade: moderate to high

Essential Information

Full List of Facilities & Services:

  • Natural Park
  • Walking / Trekking / Cycling
  • Guided Tours
  • Picnic
  • Local Wine tasting / Wine tasting excursions
  • Bread and cheese making lessons
  • Cookery courses
  • Car parking – Car valet
  • Concierge service
  • Taxi / Car rental services and Airport transfer service
  • Luggage Room
  • Business & Meeting room
  • Mountain bikes
  • Baby-sitting
  • Massage Total Body

Visas:

At the time of writing, you do not need a Visa to visit Italy if you are from the UK or US for less than 90 days. However, please check the full guidelines on the embassy website before you travel. For UK citizens this is the Foreign Travel Advice section of https://www.gov.uk

Travel Insurance:

Travel Insurance is an important part of any booking. We recommend everyone who travels with us has taken out adequate travel insurance which includes cover for the full value of your holiday with us.

If you would like to obtain cover for your trip please feel free to contact specialist Insurance Brokers, Campbell Irvine Direct for a quote. GoKo Travels is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine Ltd who are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority .

Click here to apply for travel insurance ONLINE

Covid-19:

Please click here to learn more about what we do to keep you safe while on a GoKo run tour.

For more up to date information regarding the current travel restrictions within Italy, please click here

Additionally, you can email: info@gokotravels.com and a GoKo Travel Manager will get back to you as soon as possible with all the relevant information.

Travel With Confidence:

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the safety and wellbeing of all of our travellers, leaders, suppliers and staff remains our top priority. Not only have we updated our booking policies so you can flexibly amend booking arrangements before departure and get the most out of your holidays while away, we have also introduced new measures and safety guidelines so you can travel with GoKo Travels safely and securely.

What does this new booking policy mean for me?:

Fully Flexible bookings for peace of mind - We understand that sometimes plans change. That’s why GoKo Travels have updated our booking policies, so you now have full flexibility to change your travel plans if needed.

Our flexible booking policy includes:

(a) Free date changes up to 45days prior to departure - with no interest or added fees

(b) Full refund giving if you have to cancel the trip due to any COVID-19 related issues or international restrictions.

(c) You can now lock in your trip with a small refundable deposit and then pay the rest in instalments whenever you like, with no interest or fees.

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Book with Confidence

  • Full Flexibility

    Free date changes and cancellations up to 45-days before departure on the majority of our holidays

  • Your Money is Safe

    Full financial Protection on all of our bookings so you can travel with piece of mind.

  • COVID-19 Commitment

    Full refund given if you have to cancel the trip due to any COVID-19 related issues or international restrictions.

  • Travelling Safely

    When you travel with us you can be confident that all of our holidays meet COVID-19 safety regulations.

Giving Back

As part of our commitment to preserving planet earth, we donate 3% of our profits to GoKo Travel's registered non-for-profit, "The GoKo Earth Preservation".

The GoKo Earth Preservation has been set up to protect and preserve the natural habitats of our planet and to conserve and enhance the biodiversity of threatened environments and endangered species around the globe. This is achieved through rewilding, reforestation and marine conservation projects, alongside local community support.

Rainforest canopy viewed from above with river in the centre

Securing A Rainforest Reserve

Support the purchase of our very own GoKo Rainforest reserve - preserving biodiversity and protecting endangered species in the world's most important habitat.

Giant sea turtle swimming under water

Assisting Marine Conservation

With your help, we can buy boats to support marine conservation; securing the future for our fragile oceans and the wonderful beings that inhabit them.

Jaguar big cat looking at the camera

Creating New National Parks

By helping with the creation of new parks, we can support local economies, empower native communities and put healthy landscapes into permanent protection.

Carbon Offsetting as Standard

Although all of our GoKo holidays promise to warm your hearts, we don’t want it to contribute to warming the planet.

For every trip booked with us, we support a 3-step carbon offset scheme to calculate and neutralise your holiday footprint, allowing you to travel conscious free. This covers every step of the journey where you travel with us, from international flights to hotel heating, transport, food and more.

The GoKo Carbon Offsetting scheme does not focus on just planting trees, but rather the purchasing, persevering and protecting standing forests from deforestation and degradation - helping revive forests back to full health and avoiding the release of stored carbon. This also enables the regeneration of degraded habitats, which gradually re-absorb atmospheric CO2.

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