Friday 2 August 2013

Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita

2 months ago today we awoke in Grotta 8 at the Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, Matera. We'd travelled down the afternoon before, so that we could wake up in this stunning setting for hubby's birthday, and it truly was an amazing place to be.

The journey down had taken a little longer than we expected, as 
the Autostrada was closed for major roadworks & we diverted 
through some of the beautifully quaint countryside towns & 
villages that southern Italy is famous for. On our return journey 
we discovered that we could've re-joined the Autostrada at the 
next junction, but then we wouldn't have seen some of the pretty
little places we drove through.

Once we reached the centre of Matera the sat nav did its usual trick of trying to take us the wrong way round a one-way system; being English we, of course, try to abide by the 'No Entry' & 'Right Turn Only' signs - something no Italian driver ever seems to do! After a renegotiation of the centre, we finally found ourselves at the foot of the stone steps to the Sextantio & we were about to be 
'wowed' beyond our wildest expectations.......

Behind the simple wooden doors in the picture above lay this
absolutely awesome cave, just over twice the size of Il Sogno, 
simply furnished with huge dark wooden medieval furniture
and littered with beautifully scented candles. I was totally blown
away the minute I entered & the 'little girl' within me, did a happy dance, ran back outside squealing (much to the amusement of the
guests staying in the next suite who'd just come back from a walk)
and then ran back in to give hubby a huge kiss & a hug. OK, it was hubby's birthday weekend, but hey, I was going to be helping him celebrate big time!
Having laid the HUGE door key on the dining table, I went to check out the bathroom. It had 
one of those wonderful free-standing baths I've
coveted since forever, a huge scented candle burning to one side & handmade bubble bath/shower gel, soap & shampoo that all smelt
absolutely divine - boy were we going to enjoy 
birthday bathtime!

I really couldn't get over the sheer size of the suite, the height of the cave, the underfloor heating in the bathroom or marvel at how they'd managed to wire in all the electrics with barely a channel to
be seen. The whole ethos of stepping back in time to experience a 
way of life long lost was not wasted on either of us.

The caves of Matera date back to Palaeolithic times & the view from our suite was across the valley of La Gravina to the original cave 
dwellings of that period - not a bad view for a landlocked city, although we did miss our stunning sea views we've become used to over the past 2 and a half years.

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