Casa Grotta del Casalnuovo

Useful Information

Location: Rione Casalnuovo, 307, 75100 Matera MT,
(40.66243109150818, 16.612071793943233)
Open: APR to OCT daily 9:30-19:30.
NOV to MAR daily 9:30-17:30-
Fee: Adults EUR 2.50, Children (12-17) EUR 2, Children (0-11) free.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 2.
Classification: SubterraneaSubterranea Museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided. Audioguide Italiano - Italian, Français - French, English, Español - Spanish, 日本語 - Japanese, русский - Russian, Deutsch - German.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes(!)
Address: Casa Grotta del Casalnuovo, Rione Casalnuovo, 307, 75100 Matera MT, Tel: +39-333-712-6287. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1474 cave house reportedly existed already.
1958 inhabitants relocated by law.
1980s museum created by Signore Nicola Festa.
1993 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The Casa Grotta del Casalnuovo is a cave house museum located inside such a cave house with five rooms. The rooms which are on three different levels are still with the original furnishings and tools of the family who lived there until 1958. It shows the typical culture of the peasant population of Matera in the first half of the 20th century. Its only 70 years, but the difference to our modern life is enormous. This is not only a result of the technical development, but also a sign of the poverty of southern Italian peasants.

Two rooms were used for living, the big room, the original living room of the house, and the kitchen, which was used for cooking food and for sleeping. Attached are a stable, a cellar and a snow house. The stable has four sections for different animals. Quite exceptional is the neviera, the ice reserve, where ice was collected during the winter. In the room, isolated by the posrous rock, the ice stayed long into the summer and was used for various purposes. In front of the cave house is a court which was the original entrance to the house.

This museum is famous for its accessibility. The cave houses often have staircases and steps from one room to the next. But the accessibility was a central objective of the architetture in positivo (positive architecture) project, through which the cave house in via Casalnuovo was developed. It includes special ramps for wheelchairs, touch enhanced maps and 3D models of the cave house which are touchable by blind, and audioguides in various languages. There is also a videoguide in LIS (Lingua dei Segni Italiana) which is in sign language for the deaf. And it is allowed to touch many of the exhibited items. Its a whole bunch of accessibility features which are often not very expensive, its just a matter of organizing it. And the accessibility is quite popular with families with strollers and seniors, who are also in need of such improvements. Unfortunatewly the whole quarter of the Sassi is still quite inaccessible, as many houses can only be reached on steep staircases. The organizers of this museum appeal to those responsible to improve access there as well.

The museum is privately owned by Piero Colapietro, who is also the owner of a cave hotel. He is the innovator behind various projects in the Sassi. The neighbouring cave house is the home of a highly experienced craftsman, who offers artisan workshop, for example ceramic workshops and the construction of clay whistles.