The Italian Hotel built inside Abandoned Medieval Grottos
It consists of 21 cave rooms as well as a restaurant, which took a total of 10 years to renovate from what was essentially a series of deserted caves, last inhabited in the 1950s by residents who lived very primitively. The now UNESCO-list town of Matera as a prehistoric birthday; it’s dwellings are carved into limestone rock that overlook the Gravina gorge, connected by winding cobblestone streets, built right over the rooftops of other caverns.
In the 1950s, the Italian government relocated most of the people in the cave towns, who were living without proper sanitation, into areas of the developing modern city nearby. Until the 1980s, anyone that remained in the cliffs would have been trying to survive in caves that were basically unliveable, in a poverty-stricken area.
When Margareta Berg, a young German girl who ran away from her parents in Germany as a teenager, arrived in Matera, she found mostly hippies living inside the honey colored caves. She would later be involved in the transformation of those caves into a hotel that would be listed in prestigious travel publications as one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.
The unusual hotel has no stars and even local tourist offices usually haven’t heard of it. The rock-hewn rooms are breathe-takingly romantic, decorated simply but beautifully– and the flickering candles are not just for the cameras, the hosts make a point of making each room look like your very own private cathedral every evening.
While the calming style certainly pays tributes to its simple roots (there are no televisions or telephones in the rooms), the time-worn cobblestone floors are heated from underneath, bathing involves a state of the art Philippe Starck bathtub, cleverly placed LED spotlights illuminate the hidden nooks and in case you’re not quite ready to disconnect, there is WIFI in every room.