The convent was built in 1592 by the monks belonging to the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine on an ancient hypogeum dedicated to Saint William of Vercelli. The church, dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, was built two years later, in 1594.
In 1734, the entire complex was destroyed by an earthquake. Once restored, in 1747, the convent and the church became the General Chapter of the Augustinian Order. The church was consecrated in 1750 by the Archbishop Antonio Antinori.
Over time, the convent was suppressed, and it was used as an army shelter, before becoming a prison and later a care home for the elderly. Today, is houses the Superintendence for Architectural and Environmental Heritage.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade of the church is dominated by the central portal, surmounted by a niche with the statue of Sant’Agostino. Above the cornice, there is a niche containing a statue of a bishop and, on both sides, the statues of San Paolo and San Pietro. Between the church and the convent, the bell tower rises.
The interior has a Latin cross and develops into a single nave with side altars, divided by pillars with semi-columns and capitals. The first altar on the left is surmounted by a canvas framed by scrolls and leaves, which depicts a Crucifixion, with the Magdalene, St. John the Baptist and the Madonna. The second is dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie. The third is dominated by a painting depicting St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Vitus, the Madonna and Child, St. Apollonia and St. Catherine.
On the first altar on the right, a canvas depicts St. Francis of Paola, St. Leonard, St. Joseph and St. Anne. The Holy Trinity and other saints are depicted in the painting of the second altar on the right. The third altar hosts the painting of the Madonna delle Grazie and Sant’Agostino.
The transept, surmounted by a dome, contains a statue of San Vito and one of Sant’Agostino. At the bottom, is the wooden choir. In front of the choir, is the high altar in marble, on which is placed a wooden crucifix of the 16th century.
TIP: To the left of the main altar, you can find the access door to the ancient hypogea church dedicated to Saint William of Vercelli. On the walls of the crypt, there are ancient frescoes along with more recent ones from the 17th century.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Sant’Agostino is located at the northern limit of Sasso Barisano, on Via D’Addozio, about 900 meters away from the Matera Centrale train station. To find it on foot, use the map below.