When you're ready to trade the Baroque architecture of Lecce, in Italy's Puglia region, for the sassi cave dwellings of Matera, there are a few ways to make the 110-mile (175 km) journey. Driving is the fastest mode of travel between the two cities, which are also connected by trains and buses. Because there is no airport near Matera, flying is not an option.
Hardy travelers may want to consider this 8-day cycling tour of Southeast Italy, which includes a mix of seaside resorts, historic cities and the rolling countryside of Puglia and Basilicata.
By Private Transfer or Rental Car
Duration: 2-2.5 hrs
A private car transfer is a convenient and stress-free way to make the trip between the two cities. Leaving central Lecce, drivers want to pick up the Viale Michele de Pietro heading north out of town. This soon becomes the SS613 motorway, also labeled the SS16 in places.
Stay on the SS613 for 22 miles (37 km), before picking up the SS7 (also signposted E90 in places) outside or Brindisi and heading west towards Taranto. At Taranto, the S7 makes a sharp turn to the north and continues on to Matera, for a total of 84 miles (136 km) for this leg of the journey.
Before you get to Matera, make sure you know where your hotel is located. If the hotel does not have a parking area, ask them in advance to give you the names of and directions to nearby parking.
By Train and Private Transfer or Bus
Duration: 3.5-5 hrs
The fastest public transportation route from Lecce to Matera is via a combination of train and bus, for a total of 3.5 hours. Trenitalia, the Italian national rail system, offers dozens of freccia fast trains from Lecce to Bari Centrale station, for a travel time of 1 hour, 22 minutes. You can also take a cheaper regionale train, though these take about 30 minutes longer.
From Bari Centrale, you can take a private transfer to Materna. You can also take a bus—FlixBus offers three or four buses per day to Matera and BusMiccolis offers three daily departure times.