After informing you about what the Sassi of Matera really are, let’s see now how to get to Matera from the close city of Bari. If you want to get to Matera by train note that, unlike all the other Italian provincial capitals, Matera is not connected to the national rail system (Trenitalia): in fact, if you go on the Trenitalia website and search for trains from Bari to Matera, then no rides come up. But, don’t you worry, reaching Matera from Bari is not so difficult as it may appear: in fact, there are several possibilities to get to Matera easily and at reasonable prices.
Matera is 65Km (just a little bit more than 40 miles) far from Bari. If you’re travelling by car you just need to follow these directions, thus taking the SS96 from Bari to Altamura and then going on to Matera, you will reach the town of the Sassi in 1 hour. Once arrived in Matera, I suggest you to park your car near the Sassi; do not try to go in the old districts because, even though it is possible to transit by car only in working days (the Sassi and the old town centre are limited traffic zones), you can risk to get stuck (streets are narrow and winding). Moreover, it’s quite hard to find a place to park your car because car parks are limited and reserved to residents and tourist operators and, finally, those who are not used to drive in the Sassi can have troubles on the rocky and slippery pavement, especially when it rains.
If you’ve just landed at the Bari Palese Airport and you need to go to Matera, you can get the train from the airport to Bari Centrale (it takes 14 minutes) and, once there, go to the “Ferrovia Appulo Lucane” railway station (close to the “Ferrovie dello Stato” central station you’ve just got off) and wait for the first train connecting Bari to Matera. Tickets can be bought right there, at the ticket office, the ride costs €4,80 and it takes about 1 hour and a half. There are 3 railway stations in Matera: “Matera Villalongo” (far from the town centre), “Matera Centrale” (the closest to the town centre and not too far from the Sassi) and “Matera Sud” which is the closest to the Sassi. So, I suggest you to get off at “Matera Sud” station or, at “Matera Centrale” if you want to get to the Sassi while walking along and enjoying the beauty of the old town centre. Note that this train service doesn’t run on holidays and Sundays: anyway, no worries, there are several buses leaving to Matera from the central station, just ask at the help desk.
As an alternative to the train, there are some shuttles buses going from the airport to Matera: the problem is that there are very few rides and you should be lucky to find a connecting ride. Here you are the shuttle bus timetable.
Demanding tourists and groups may alco consider the possibility of hiring cars (at the airport), private shuttles at short notice or calling a taxi.
So, another small trip (from Bari to Matera) but you will be fully rewarded by the beauty and magnificence of Matera and its Sassi.