When we think of Italian accommodations, images of Tuscan villas bathed in the sunlight, out on the rolling countryside, immediately come into mind. If not that, then series upon series of apartments in big cities like Rome and Milan, with their shuttered windows looking into narrow, cobblestoned streets. Italian accommodations could also be rustic estates out on the coast, with expansive gardens planted with fruit-bearing peach trees, birdbaths sparkling under the sunshine. But that’s the thing about hotels and accommodations in Italy - there’s a wide selection in that country of diverse landscapes. For instance, you can venture south to the town of Matera, recently named the European Capital of Culture, and you’ll find a plethora of cave hotels carved into ancient stone. If you’d like a different hotel experience, we recommend the following cave hotels in Italy.
The Italian town of Matera is well-known for their cave dwellings, and this tradition extends to the Caveoso Hotel. Located in the Sassi di Matera UNESCO World Heritage site, Caveoso Hotel was built directly onto one of the town’s ancient rocks. Inside, the cavernous rooms are architecturally pleasing and plush despite the hard exterior, furnished with soft beds and cozy accouterments. All rooms face the south, giving each guest a majestic view of the district. With a Junior Balcony Suite, you can enjoy this vista as you take your breakfast or enjoy after-dinner room service.
Matera doesn’t seem to run out of unique cave hotels. Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & Spa is no exception. A short walk from the MUSMA Museum, this cave hotel delivers a fresh and modern spin. In stark contrast to the almost medieval and church-like experience at Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, rooms and suites at Aquatio are bright and airy, furnished with top-of-the-line appliances. You are welcome to unwind at the spa, which includes a steam room, a heated indoor pool, a hammam, and a tea corner.
Another option in Matera is the Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, carved within a cave network located in the oldest part of the city. Each room and suite here, as a result, feels very much like its own cozy cave, with stunning stone floors, beautiful antique furniture, and air-conditioning. And despite its ancient atmosphere, Le Grotte Della Civita is a modern establishment, with high-speed WiFi available throughout the hotel. Previous guests all note that staying at the Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita is nothing short of spectacular.
Basiliani Hotel also offers a balanced take on modern dwellings in ancient caves in the town of Matera. This time, rooms and suites all enjoy dramatic views of the Chiese Rupestri Archaeological Park and its impressive collection of prehistoric caves. This is what Matera is all about! Basiliani Hotel is also great if you are prone to feeling claustrophobic– each room and suite here is tastefully decorated to make each guest feel like they’re not actually at a cave hotel. You would think the textures on the ceilings and walls are just architectural touches. Another highlight is the daily buffet breakfast offered, which features local products for an authentic taste of Matera regional cuisine.
Locanda Di San Martino does well to speak of Matera’s local heritage. Its rustic rooms and suites are appointed with locally sourced furniture and decor for a real Matera touch. Vaulted ceilings keep every room and suite cool and spacious, while the balcony provides breathtaking views of the town. There’s nothing quite like waking up and seeing the town framed this way. The only time Locanda Di San Martino strays from tradition is through its luxe amenities at the Thermae Romanae. Here, you’ll find the indoor hydromassage pool. After that, it’s back to ancient roots with the Turkish bath and sauna.
From Matera in Southern Italy, make your way to Tuscany in the central region. Here, in the Pistoia province, you’ll find Grotta Giusti. Located just outside the town limits of Monsummano Terme, Grotta Giusti is your ideal villa in the Tuscan countryside. It was recently refurbished, with new lighting shining the spotlight on the spa hotel’s beautiful inlaid wood and parquet flooring, and the frescoes that adorn the wall. When you stay at Grotta Giusti, you are automatically given free access to the wellness center, where you can find the thermal pool and the steam bath housed in a natural cave. Grotta Giusti is quite the luxurious wellness retreat.
Travel to the island commune of Favignana off the Sicilian coast and check-in at Hotel Delle Cave, one of the top hotels in the region. It’s only a small hotel, but what sets it apart is its unique location. It is housed in a historic structure, directly carved onto one of the limestone quarries that pepper the commune. The end result is waves of interesting textures present throughout the entire hotel, continuing to the plush rooms and suites and back outside to the outdoor living spaces. You are quite literally a couple of meters below ground here, and you won’t even know it because of the verdant surroundings.
Another gem below ground in the island commune of Favignana is Cave Bianche Hotel. Also located in one of the old limestone quarries in the island, Cave Bianche Hotel is surrounded by lovely white Mediterranean stone like a precious yet eco-friendly underground fortress. You’ll find traces of the old limestone quarry in the guest rooms and suites, dressed up in contemporary-style furniture and decor. Come out of your cave to play and relax in one of the four hot tubs, order your favorite drink at the bar, or swim a couple of laps in the outdoor pool.
Other cave properties
We are back in Matera for a couple of nights’ stay at La Dimora Di Metello, one of the most unique cave hotels in town. It is actually built into a section of the Sassi di Matera stone caves, this ancient part of town runs through the entire property, into the rooms, and most beautifully, into the wellness facilities for a one-of-a-kind spa experience. Guest rooms are the perfect balance between modern and prehistoric– set against the old stone are clean, contemporary decor and furnishings. La Dimora Di Metello is also just a couple of minutes away from other must-see attractions, such as MUSMA Museum and Tramontano Castle.
For the last stop on our tour of Italian cave hotels, we’re in the heart of the Roman Empire: Rome. Set in one of the capital city’s many winding streets is The Cave Hotel. We’re all familiar with how busy Rome can get, and The Cave Hotel offers a momentary respite from all this hustle and bustle. Cool and quiet, this accommodation is more a holiday home with three modern bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, two bathrooms, a bath, and a living area. Outside, there’s a peaceful garden and a patio where you can enjoy some serenity in the city.
Add a spin to your trip by staying at a cave hotel
It works, especially if you’re traveling to a city quite renowned for such accommodations. If you don’t do well in caves but want to experience something similar, we suggest finding an underground hotel that fits your style and preferences. To complete your itinerary, browse our website to read more of our Italy travel guides. Ciao!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.