The Church of Santa Maria di Idris is a rupestrian church in Matera, located near the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, dug in the large limestone rock of Monterrone, dominating from its height the entire Sasso Caveoso.
The church was built between the 14th and 15th centuries. The facade, made of tuff in the 15th century, was rebuilt following a collapse occurred in the same century.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The church presents an irregular plan, composed of a part carved into the rock and another one built. Next to the facade, there is a small bell gable.
The interior of the church is completely different from the original structure, because of the continuous restorations made over the centuries due to the humidity. Numerous frescoes were detached to be subsequently restored, and today they are conserved at the Superintendence for the Historical and Artistic Heritage of Matera.
On the 19th-century altar, built in 1807, there is a Madonna with Child painted in tempera, dating back to the 17th century. On the right, is the Conversion of Sant’Eustachio, the Holy Family and Sant’Antonio, all from the 17th century, and a Crucifixion with the city of Matera as a backdrop. On the right of the altar, there is also a water tank.
The rupestrian church of Santa Maria di Idris is connected, through a tunnel on the left of the altar, to the Crypt of San Giovanni in Monterrone. In the crypt, there are valuable frescoes dating back to a period ranging from the 12th to the 17th century.
In the passageway to the crypt, there is a fresco depicting Saint John the Baptist. On the altar of the crypt, is represented the Christ Pantocrator, dating back to the 12th century, holding an open Gospel, testimony of the Byzantine influence in the territory of Matera.
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 Santa Maria di Idris is located in Sasso Caveoso, about 1 kilometers away from the Matera Centrale train station. To find it on foot, use the map below.