February 2018

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Dreaming about an Italy trip in 2018 or beyond?

Behold our hot list of the best places to travel in Italy in 2018! These are the lesser-known spots that we’re lovin’ now.

1. Matera (Basilicata)

 

Why go?

Matera is a wise addition to your Italy trip in 2018. After all, this might be the last year that it can truly be considered “off the beaten path” — it’s been named European Capital of Culture for 2019, which will no doubt hotfoot it right onto the world’s radar. Go anytime before then and you’ll have the caves to yourself. In drizzling winter or in peak season summer, this place is nothing short of impressive.

What’s so special about it? Two words: cave dwellings. This is one of the few places on the planet that has been continuously inhabited since Paleolithic times. Paleowhaaaat? Just means these digs are old! The Sassi is a district in Matera characterized by 1500 prehistoric cave dwellings that were home to its inhabitants for thousands of years, until as recently as the 1950s.

The caves lay abandoned for decades until a group dedicated to restoring them stepped in and began to clean them up. By 1993 they had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Little by little boutique hotels, restaurants and bars started to open up right in the caves themselves. On our gorgeous Southern Italy tour, we bring guests to stay in one of the most enchanting of these hotels.

Matera only just started to become a real tourism destination in 2014 — a mere four years ago! That’s virtually unheard of in Italy, one of the most visited countries on earth and home to places like Venice, which are practically (and literally!) sinking under the weight of the visitors that tromp through every year.  Now, we’re recommending it as one of the 5 Best Places to Travel in Italy in 2018!

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