The Church of Saints Peter and Paul (Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo), commonly known as the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, is a church in Matera, located in the southern ancient district of the city, Sasso Caveoso.
The church was built in 1218, but undergone numerous changes and renovations over the centuries, and many of its original features were lost in time. In the 17th century, the church was completely renovated and the current facade was built. At the same time, the bell tower was raised and the interior of the church was enlarged, with the addition of the side chapels.
In 1706, the church was re-consecrated, as indicated on a plaque, and new improvements were made. The cusp was added on the bell tower, the interior was covered with stucco and decorations, and a wooden false ceiling was placed under the tufa roof.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The Baroque facade presents, in the lower part, three portals with a simple frame. Above each of them, there are semi-circular niches containing statues. Above the central portal, there is the Madonna of Mercy, St. Paul the Apostle above the portal on the right and St. Peter the Apostle above the portal on the left. The two side niches are surmounted by rectangular windows, while the central niche is flanked by two single light windows with a round arch. At the top of the facade, there is a circular rose window.
To the left of the facade stands the bell tower with three floors. Between the second and third floor, there is a gallery with a balustrade carved with geometric motifs. The bell tower ends with a pyramidal cusp.
Inside, there were originally eight side chapels, four on the left and four on the right. The latter were demolished to make room for the construction of the oratory.
The central nave ends with an 18th-century altar dominated by a wooden polyptych dated around 1540, depicting the Madonna and Child between Saints Peter and Paul.
From the four chapels on the left, the first one is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. The chapel hosts a 17th-century Pietà by the painter Alessandro Fracanzano. The third chapel is dedicated to St. Anthony and houses an altar decorated with six tufa panels, in bas-relief, dated back to 1531. The last chapel, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, houses the 13th-century baptismal font, decorated with bas-reliefs.
TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the European Capital of Culture, and if you have not visited the city until now, the moment has come. To gain access to all events in the Matera 2019 official programme, don’t forget to buy the Matera 2019 Passport.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Saints Peter and Paul is located about 1.4 kilometers away from Matera train station. From the station, you can take one of the buses of Linea Sassi, to get to Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, near the church. A bus ticket costs 0.80€ at the ticket office, but you can also buy it on board for 1.50€.