Matera, Italy is a very special spot on this big, blue marble. It’s the first place humans settled in Italy! Its limestone caves were turned into human living quarters 10,000 years ago. There were some high points in the Middle Ages before poverty and forced evacuation plagued Matera. Now, there is a movement to reclaim this destination for new residents and visitors. To that end, the palace home of the Matera’s greatest family — the Gattini family — has been converted into a luxe boutique hotel. I was happy to be hosted to experience Palazzo Gattini!
European hotels always serve a daily breakfast buffet — it’s expected. Palazzo Gattini serves breakfast down in what were its cheese cellars hundreds of years ago. The setting is unique and appealing: the low-lit, quiet stone rooms don’t irritate jet-lagged eyes and they make breakfast, well, romantic.
The buffet includes house-made and local specialties, the way noble families would have eaten. The staff is very attentive, clearing used dishes instantly and remembering your favorite coffee drink each day. Tables are laden with exotic fruit yogurts, house-baked fresh breads and pastries, heavy tree-ripened fruits, cured meats (which only nobles would have had in the olden days), a make your own bruschetta station and the item that got me to wake up early in the morning: freshly made each day burrata! I can be lured into doing ‘most anything for the creamy, rich goodness that is burrata. I love that mozzarella cheese product with extra cream in the center . . .