Deep in the heart of Matera, Italy is a hotel unlike any other in the world. It sits on land that is believed to be the first site of human settlements in the country, inside a structure that belonged to the Middle Ages. So come along….
Let’s begin our tour of the hotel La Grotta della Civita...
Believe it or not, the hotel was built inside an abandoned medieval grotto.
The hotel includes 18 cave rooms and a restaurant. The amazing renovation took 10 years to complete.
In the 1950s, poverty-stricken families were living primitively inside the caves, but were relocated to developing urban areas by the Italian government.
A German runaway named Margareta Berg lived in the caves with hippies during the 1980s and later became involved in transforming the space.
Today, La Grotta della Civita is listed as one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.
The owner of the hotel is Daniele Kihlgren, who Berg teamed up with after reading about his restoration of Abruzzo villages. The Swedish-Italian entrepreneur and philanthropist was happy to breathe life back into the caves while honoring their history and simplicity.
Visitors can expect to be pampered in their private, cathedral-style rooms.
Every need is simply, but beautifully, met.
The rooms pay homage to their historical roots by not including televisions or telephones. However, there is Wi-Fi, soft LED lights, state-of-the-art Philippe Starck bathtubs, and cobblestone floors that are heated from the underside.
Looking at the rustic exterior, it’s hard to believe so much luxury is inside.
Although there was a time when Matera was stricken with poverty, the town is now coming back to life with the help of the government, European Union, and even Hollywood – Mel Gibson filmed scenes of “The Passion of the Christ” in this very gorge.
The views of the surrounding lands are breathtaking.
And the nearby towns are thriving with businesses.
It’s a great place to vacation. Where else can you get...
...beautiful cobblestone walls...
...a luxury bath...
...fine fruits and cheese....
….a candle-lit fire…
….and out of this world architecture?
Although this hotel is complete, Daniele Kihlgren dreams of renovating more of Italy’s 1,500 abandoned towns and villages, as well the 2,000 semi-abandoned. The idea is to inspire commerce and tourists with the lure of hospitality.
“Albergo Diffuso” is Italian for widespread hotel, and it certainly seems that is their mission.
Who wouldn’t be tempted by this view?
By working with history, rather than tearing it down, a beautiful and unique space has been created.
It’s an experience that any traveler would love to have.
After all, there is nowhere in the world quite like Italy.
If you are interested in staying at the La Grotta della Civita, visit their website. Rooms start at 200 euros per night. And don’t forget to share the images of this amazing renovation with anyone who loves history, Italy, or to travel.
Credit: Messy Nessy Chic