Casa Neutral is one of the first colivings in the world, located in the beautiful town Matera in Southern Italy. I got to work in a typical Italian town with other like-minded people while exploring the area. Find out if this unique experience is something for you. I loved it!
In June 2021 I spent two weeks at Nine Coliving in Tenerife, my first coliving experience ever. I loved the whole concept of living and working with other people while exploring a country and its culture. It was clear to me, that this wouldn’t be my last coliving experience.
One year later I was looking for a place to live and work in Southern Italy for October. Not only is the weather there still nice and warm during that time of the year, but since I had another direct flight booked from Naples to Egypt it made sense to stay in the area for a few weeks. And: I’ve never been to Italy even though it’s so close to my home country Germany! It was about time…
After doing some research I found Casa Netural in Matera. Being one of the first colivings in the world and the only one in Southern Italy, I booked a two week stay without having a look at the exact location. Without big plans and expectations I found myself in one of the most beautiful historical towns in the South of Italy, living and working with like-minded people.
About Casa Netural
Casa Netural was founded in 2012 as a rural coliving and community project. The aim was to generate social impact in Southern Italy, to bring people from all over the world together in one place, share experiences and create a strong community. For over ten years, Casa Netural has hosted many people from all over the world. From travellers and social innovators in the beginning, to the now popular digital nomads and remotely working people.
Casa Netural is a great place to get your daily work done, create new ideas and share different cultures, while exploring the spectacular city Matera. Apart from coworking and coliving, the Casa Netural family hosts local community projects for kids and adults and tries to bring rural towns like Grottole to life. All in all they’re doing amazing work for the community and have created a unique place that connects people and has been a welcoming home to many different people.
Work & life
Located in the historic neighborhood of Matera, a typical Italian four level house is home for digital nomads from around the world. In total, Casa Netural has five single and double rooms, two shared bathrooms, a coworking area as well as a meeting room. Furthermore there is a shared, fully-equipped kitchen and a balcony. There is high-speed internet in the whole house. Each room also has a private desk.
Supermarkets are within five minutes walking distance. The beautiful core of the town, Sassi di Matera, can be reached within 20 minutes walking. Also the train and bus station, which connects you to rural towns and big cities like Bari and Naples, are very close.
When I was staying at Casa Netural we were four people in total. During the day we had the Casa Netural core team and other remote workers from Italy working with us.
Casa Netural is a lovely house with lots of small interior details. It feels very authentic and you have everything you need. Andrea, Roberta and Samuele, the heart of the Casa Netural family, were always very kind and helpful. The price of my stay at Casa Netural included:
- Rooms, linens and towels (weekly cleaning)
- Workspace with 24/7 access and high speed internet
- Access to a fully equipped kitchen
- Lots of cats in the neighbourhood
- Living with like-minded people and sharing the experiences with them
My days usually started with a yoga session in the morning, followed by a homemade breakfast. Then I started working until late afternoon. After lunch I used to go to one of the small cafes and have an espresso in the sun. I spent most of the time in the meeting room or private working area, as I have many calls every day. The afternoons and evenings were for: going on a walk in Matera, having dinner with the people from the coliving or going out for a drink and pizza.
Casa Netural is great for those, who would like to live in a community and engage in local (group) activities. Different to the coliving I experienced before in Tenerife, there are no planned activities on a daily basis. For me this was totally fine. Also it depends on the people who are staying at the coliving and the season. If you are looking for a coliving with more program and organized community activities, Casa Netural might not be the right fit. If you are open for whatever comes and ready to also initiate things it’s a great place! Casa Neutral also plans a lot of local activities like showing you how to make olive oil. It’s best to reach out to the Casa Netural team and just check with them what’s going on!
Casa Neutral is located in one of the oldest inhabited towns in the world: Matera. Think of old houses built into stone walls, surrounded by a massive canyon. Especially Sassi di Matera, which is 20 minutes away from Casa Netural, is just breathtaking. The mix of this typical Italian old town with fantastic views over the gorges is something I’ve never seen before. The pictures speak for themselves.
My time at Casa Netural
I spent a bit more than two weeks at Casa Netural. As the coliving itself isn’t too big, it’s quite easy to connect with the people living there. The Casa Netural family is very welcoming and shared the workplace with us almost every day. What I loved most about my stay is that it felt so authentic. As the core team is Italian, I got to learn a lot about their culture, food and the lifestyle.
One night, we were invited to Grottole, a rural town about 30 minutes’ drive away from Matera. We were welcomed by the local people and got an insight into the challenges of this small town. The most beautiful thing was to experience the passion of each involved person. They put a lot of thoughts and money into local projects with the aim to make places like Grottole more attractive for Italians, remote workers and tourists.
Casa Netural for me was a great coliving experience. On the one hand, as I was able to work and live with other people in a typical Italian house. On the other hand, I got great insights into the Italian lifestyle. The city offers a lot more than just pizza and ice-cream, so does the Italian culture. I’m more than happy that I got to live in Matera and experience the daily life in Casa Netural. I can only recommend to spend a few weeks there, as you will encounter the culture and area with different eyes.
What to do in Matera and Basilicata
The best thing about coliving in a foreign country is that you get to explore the country after work and on the weekends. I spent most of my free time strolling through Matera, visiting local supermarkets and going on nature hikes. The weather in October was very pleasant. The nights were chilly with 15 degrees, but during the day it got to around 23 degrees with pure sunshine. One reason, why it’s worth to go south.
In Basilicata, the region in Southern Italy, there are many things to see and explore. I will share my favorite activities.
1 Sassi di Matera
The most famous part of Matera is the Sassi. A maze of historic buildings and churches built into the caves. You can get lost easily, everything looks so similar but beautiful in different ways. There are many small restaurants and cafes hidden in the tiny streets. Sassi di Matera is worth visiting during the day and at night. I went for a stroll through the Sassi almost every day.
2 Cave Spa
In need of a relaxing night? Visit the Locanda di San Marino which is located right in the heart of the Sassi. Locanda di San Marino is a hotel with an antique romanian thermal bath. External guests can visit for an entrance fee of 30 Euros in the morning and evening. There are two warm pools built into a cave, two normal saunas and a hot steam sauna.
3 Hike around the gorge
Nature lovers, this is for you. Right next to the Sassi di Matera is a stunning canyon. You can hike up and down steep hills, take a break at the river, walk over a huge suspension bridge and enjoy stunning views. There are different paths which lead you past caves and up to a viewpoint. It’s worth spending at least half a day at the gorge and its surroundings. Definitely bring sneakers and sunscreen!
4 Visit Altamura and Gravina in Puglia
I visited the two towns Altamura and Gravina in Puglia, which are just a short train ride from Matera. You can first take the train to Altamura (30 minutes), explore the town for a little bit, and then head to Gravina in Puglia (another 10 minutes). Gravina in Puglia is also a historic town. The village is perched on the edge of a ravine. Look at the pictures to see more of the beauty of this place. I’m running out of words to describe these towns honestly. The most famous attraction of Gravina in Puglia is probably the stone bridge, setting of the James Bond saga “No time to die”.
5 Enjoy the local delicacies
While going out and exploring, you also need to take some breaks and enjoy the local delicacies. The pizza in Italy is in fact very different from the ones I tried before visiting this country. Yummy! Also the ice cream (2.50 € for two scoops) and crepes (3 €) are so good and comparatively cheap. Check out one of the local cafés and have an espresso with a sweet treat. The treats there all reminded me a lot of our Christmas cookies. There are a lot more pastries and dishes worth trying than just mentioned.
In addition to that, there are many fruit and vegetable stores which also sell fresh pasta. You can cook the pasta within a few minutes and it tastes SO good! The Italian cuisine is worth trying and should definitely be part of your stay in Matera.
Facts about my stay in Matera
I want to end this blogpost with some fun facts I didn’t expect before coming to Matera. The most normal things to me, worked a bit different there. Just be prepared or open-minded for new things when visiting a different culture.
- Some food is impossible to find: I went to many different supermarkets but have not found coconut milk, black beans or kidney beans. The plan to make curry and wraps this way therefore had to be changed. But hey, the Italian cuisine has so much to offer that can’t be found in other countries.
- Plant-based products are available: Regarding plant-based products, the supermarket are well sorted! You will find plant-based milk, tofu, burger patties and many more. I didn’t really find (affordable) yoghurt though.
- Kitchen supplies? Back to the roots: The kitchen at Casa Netural is amazing and I love most that there is a gas stove (super fast), juicer and a blender. What the kitchen didn’t have was a microwave and kettle. No problem at all, as all that can be done on the stove. I actually loved to go a bit “back to the roots”.
- Zebra crossings work differently: When crossing a zebra crossing in Germany you will find that most of the time the cars stop when they see you approaching the crossing, or even a bit before that. In Matera, I experienced this in a different way. The cars only stop when you’re already on the road, but not when you’re approaching the crossing. If you just wait, they might not stop. So pay attention, choose the right time and walk determined.
- Afternoon coffee? Not always possible: Siesta (afternoon rest) is a big thing in Matera and the surrounding towns. Most of the shops and restaurants are closed between 1pm and 5pm. Just be prepared and plan your things around those times. When I went to Altamura most of the cafes were closed in the afternoon (which is my coffee & cake time) so it was hard to find a place to sit down.
A stay you will never forget
All in all I loved the time at Casa Netural and can only encourage you to book a spot in this sweet home. You can only learn from this experience and get to know a different side from Italy, away from the normal tourist paths. It will be an experience you will never forget!
Read more about my coliving experiences
My experience at Cactus Coliving, Tenerife
My experience at Casa Netural in Matera, Italy
My experience at Nine Coliving, Tenerife