Matera to Lecce…by bus
It was time to leave Matera and head south for our week of wine school, cooking class and bike touring at a castle.
Someone (me) didn’t know Americans needed an international drivers license to rent a car in Italy, so we took the “Matera to Lecce Bus Adventure” instead. This isn’t really a thing, but it’s a fitting name.
The Matera to Lecce bus is operated by Miccolis and departs Matera three times a day.
The bus stop for this route is a random place on a sidewalk on the outskirts of town. Just as I contemplated the possibility that our taxi driver left us for dead in the Italian countryside, a small mini-bus came tootling around the corner. Bus passengers that day included three Italian nonnas, my husband, me and a kid with a thing for rage-metal and illegal substances. We didn’t look out of place at all.
Of course, there was something wrong with my bus tickets which required careful negotiation.
The driver shook my paper tickets at me, waved his arms and said something in Italian. I would nod my head, smile and say bus ticket in Italian. He yelled, waved the tickets at me again, slapped the paper tickets and stared. I nodded, smiled, said bus tickets in Italian. Rinse, lather, repeat for 5 minutes. Tip: Print each ticket separately.
The driver eventually got fed up and decided to drive the bus. Thirty minutes later, we arrived at another bus stop/motorway service center where he coaxed us off the bus and into a conversation with another driver. Cue a repeat of our slapping the ticket routine followed by a long discussion between the two drivers accented with lots of waving in our direction and head-shaking before we got on a larger bus marked Lecce and were off.
We did arrive in the lovely city of Lecce in about 3.5 hours. The route took us through miles of countryside, and we made multiple stops in a few small towns. The route wasn’t spectacularly scenic, but the bus was comfortable, clean and the drivers were happy to see us get off.
It was a great alternative to driving and a fabulous way to practice your Italian.
Have any questions for me or tips for other readers? Leave them in the comments below!
Things to Know
The Matera to Lecce bus is operated by Miccolis and departs Matera three times a day. It’s imperative to book ahead and print your tickets ahead of time. Make sure each ticket is printed separately.
The stop for Matera to Lecce is called FAL Stazione Villa Longo. It is well out of town (about a mile) and a long, hot, bumpy walk with luggage. I recommend booking a taxi from your hotel (about 15 euros).
A one-way ticket from Matera to Lecce was 22 euros at our time of travel. Check current times and costs here.
Note: We did investigate the train from Matera to Lecce. The train takes about 3.5 hours including the train change in Bari but does not run on Sunday or national holidays. Or when the trains are on strike.
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