The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a church built in Baroque style in the San Francesco Square, in Matera. The church is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, after the saint visited Matera in 1218.
The current church was built in the first half of the 13th century on the place of a hypogean church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. The ancient church can still be accessed today through a trap door from the third chapel on the left. In the church can be found a fresco depicting the visit of Pope Urban II to Matera from 1093.
The church was enlarged in the 15th century, and many transformations were subsequently made until the 18th century, when it assumed its current state, with the construction of the Baroque facade by the architects Vito Valentino and Tommaso Pennetta.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The Baroque facade houses three statues in the upper part, with the Virgin Mary in the center, and Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua on the sides.
The interior consists of a single nave, with side chapels and a beautiful painted ceiling. The nave ends with the quadrangular apse, introduced by a pointed arch and covered with a cross vault.
Close to the back wall, behind the main altar, there is the choir, whose parapet is decorated by a 16th-century polyptych with nine tempera paintings on wood, attributed to Lazzaro Bastiani.
Above, there is the pipe organ built by Fratelli Ruffatti (Ruffatti Brothers) in 1955 and modified by them in 1978, with electric transmission and with 22 registers on two manuals and pedal.
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 San Francesco d’Assisi is located in the square with the same name, about 650 meters away or 10 minutes on foot from the Matera Centrale train station. To find the church in no time, use the map below.