Southern Italy Rail Journey From the Amalfi Coast to Matera

Affectionately known as Mezzogiorno, southern Italy is a treasure trove of Mediterranean cuisine and ancient culture. Explore clifftop villages, secluded beaches and authentic Italian cuisine on this flightless adventure.

Though train travel is a common mode of transportation throughout much of Italy, getting to Matera requires a few logistical hurdles. It’s well worth the effort though.

Getting There

As you roll through a landscape sprinkled with seaside towns, you’ll find that getting around can be challenging. Thankfully, there are several public transport options that can help you navigate the Amalfi Coast like a local. This guide will walk you through your options for catching ferries, buses, and trains to get to the Amalfi Coast and beyond. Plus, we’ll show you how to use the UNICO Costiera integrated ticket so you can save money and time while traveling on the Amalfi Coast.

Step 1: Get to Sorrento

Start your Amalfi Coast trip by taking the train or bus from Naples to Sorrento. For the train, you can reference the schedule on Ferrovie Appulo Lucane’s website ahead of time or book online with Omio for convenience. If you opt to take the bus, SITA buses operate year-round between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast with stops in Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, Minori, Atrani, Cetara, Vietri sul Mare, and Salerno.

Once you’ve reached Sorrento, head out to explore on your own or with a small group. Stroll the Marina Grande and hit up local spots to sample the region’s famous cuisine. Enjoy mouthwatering seafood pasta in Otranto, iconic mountainside scenery in Positano, and a Campari cocktail or two on the beach. If you’re up for it, hike the Path of the Gods to get stunning views from the top.

From Sorrento, it’s a short drive or ferry ride to Amalfi and then another to Positano. Alternatively, rent a car in Sorrento to be more flexible on your journey but keep in mind that the parking is limited and expensive during the summer months. If you choose to do this, it’s recommended that you pick up the rental the first day of your trip at the arrival airport or in Sorrento just before driving to Castelmezzano. This way, you can leave the rental car in a secure parking garage and only use it for the final stretch of your journey.


Whether you’re a fan of the opera or just want to visit the enchanting city of Verona, this is an ideal day trip. Choose a departure time to suit your schedule, and get ready for an exciting ride through the picturesque landscape of the city’s northern countryside. The journey will take around four hours, and you can stop whenever you like for photos or refreshments.

The next step in your southern Italy adventure is the fabled city of Rome, where you can explore the cobblestone alleyways and historic squares of the center of town, or head out to see the ruins of Pompeii. You can also catch a ferry to the island of Murano for some delicate glass souvenirs, or travel by rail to the ruined city of Paestum.

If you have more time to spare, consider taking a train from Rome to Paestum and continuing on to the sassi in Matera. This is a longer journey, but it will give you more time to spend exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Basilicata.

On the way, you can take a break in Alberobello, where you’ll find a collection of the famous Pugliese “trulli” that stand in neat rows on the countryside hills. You’ll be able to stay in one of the white-washed, conical houses for a night or two.

There are up to 24 journeys each day from Verona to Matera, with the exact number depending on the transport provider. You’ll typically find more direct trips during off-peak times of the year, such as late fall through early spring.

To book a ticket, you’ll need to compare options and prices between the various transport providers. Virail’s search results will show you a full picture of all the available options, and include details such as travel times, fares, luggage policies, and even the availability of onboard facilities. You can then select the best option for your needs and complete your booking online. During peak travel periods, such as on weekdays or during the summer, some train companies may increase their ticket prices.


If you’re looking for a more relaxed, slow-paced journey through southern Italy, regional rail lines may be your best bet. These are inexpensive and make stops at practically every little town on their route, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in this part of the country. The only downside is that it takes a bit longer to reach your destination.

The number of journeys each day varies between the different transport providers, and they can also change depending on holiday or peak season schedules. However, on average, 0 direct connections with no changes will leave Trento each day and travel to Matera, with 7 journeys with one change or more.

Getting around southern Italy, especially in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Basilicata and Puglia, can be challenging without a car. While you can use public transportation to get around these areas, you’ll likely find that it is time-consuming and limiting. If you’re looking for a faster, more convenient way to get from the Amalfi Coast to Matera, consider hiring a private transfer service.

Private transfers can save you a lot of time and hassle, as they’ll pick you up from your accommodation and take you directly to the departure point. Plus, they’re often a more cost-effective option than renting a car. Taking a private transfer can also elevate your journey by adding some extra comfort and luxury.

A private transfer can be arranged through your hotel or via an online booking portal. Some services even allow you to customize your trip by choosing a pickup and dropoff location, or adding stops along the way. You can also book a shared transfer, which means you’ll be sharing the vehicle with other travelers.

While the Amalfi Coast is sunny and warm throughout most of the year, the weather can be unpredictable. During late fall through early spring, expect cloudier skies and a higher chance of rain. It’s still possible to visit these destinations during this time, but you’ll need to pack an umbrella and be prepared for some limited options for food and accommodation.


A private transfer from Bari Palese Airport to Matera takes you to one of Italy’s most fascinating towns. Perched in the mountainous region of Basilicata, Matera is a two-day UNESCO World Heritage Site and European Capital of Culture. The city is divided into two distinct areas: the upper, bustling neighborhood of Barisano and the sassi (or “rock houses”) carved into the rock canyon in the lower Sassi district. The city could have disappeared into the annals of history, but through sheer will and strategic investments, it has survived to this day.

It is also possible to visit Matera from other regions of Italy, but the journey involves a longer train ride. If you choose to do so, book your tickets well in advance, since this route isn’t as easy to plan for as other routes throughout the country.

The city is easily reached by bus from other destinations, including the Bay of Naples and Rome. Save yourself the headache of referencing each company’s website for individual timetables and use a single, trusted bus search engine instead, such as Omio or Flixbus. Both options offer a wide range of schedules and ticket prices, so you can find the best option for your trip.

Although the train is a wonderful way to travel, many travelers prefer renting a car to explore Southern Italy. If you do so, be sure to rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive for the added safety and comfort while driving on mountainous roads. Car rental companies typically have branches in major cities like Sorrento and Amalfi Coast, but if not, there are other reputable agencies that can arrange pick-up for you. Be aware that driving laws in the region are strict, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them ahead of time. Also, be sure to rent a vehicle that’s large enough for your group and any belongings you plan to bring with you. The roads in the mountains of southern Italy can be narrow and winding, so you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is up to the task.

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