All SEE in Matera

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions in Matera, Basilicata…

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    Matera Cathedral of the Madonna della Bruna

    The Cathedral of the Madonna della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio is the Cathedral of Matera, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the city, and to the Christian martyr Saint Eustace. The church is located on the highest point of the old city, between the two Sassi, the ancient districts of Matera.   SHORT HISTORY The cathedral was built between 1230 and 1270, on the area of an ancient Benedictine monastery from the 11th century dedicated to Saint Eustace. Originally, the church was dedicated to Santa Maria di Matera and, later, to Santa Maria della Bruna, also protector of the city. Starting with 1627, the Cathedral of Matera was dedicated both to the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace. The interior underwent considerable transformations starting with 1627, when the stuccos and decorations were added. In 1719, the ceiling was covered by a false wooden ceiling, decorated in the 19th century with three beautiful paintings by the Calabrian artist Battista Santoro. In 1776, the stuccos were covered with a gold leaf. Since 2003, the church was affected by important restoration works. In 2006, the church received a series of consolidation and restoration interventions, mainly on the medieval trusses and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Biagio

    The Church of San Biagio is a small church located on the homonymous street, at the nortwest limit of the Sasso Barisano, in Matera.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1642 and linked to the healing virtues of Saint Blaise, the Armenian saint martyred in 316 AD. The church is closed all year, but it opens on February 3, on the occasion of the Feast of San Biagio, whose cult in Matera could be related to the Armenian community gathered around the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria de Armenis.   ARCHITECTURE The church is characterized by a very simple facade, which has two dome-shaped bell gables and a square window in the center, divided by a column. On both sides of the entrance door, there are two niches with the statues of Sant’Agata and Santa Lucia.   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 Biagio is located about 650 meters away from Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Lanfranchi

    Palazzo Lanfranchi is a palace built in the second half of the 17th century in Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, in Matera, which today houses the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1668 and 1672 by the Capuchin friar Francesco da Copertino, as a diocesan seminary, at the behest of the Archbishop of Matera, Vincenzo Lanfranchi. Built on a pre-existing convent of the Carmelites, whose order was suppressed in 1652, the palace was the seat of the city’s seminary until 1864. After the Unification of Italy, the building passed to the Piedmontese Government and became the seat of the Classical Lyceum and the National Boarding School. The palace housed the Lyceum until 1980. Later, it hosted the offices of the Superintendency for Artistic and Historical Heritage of Basilicata and, since 2003, it is the seat of the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata.   ARCHITECTURE The asymmetric facade of the palace is divided horizontally into two orders by a cornice. In the lower order, there are five niches in which we can see the statues of San Nicola, the Madonna del Carmine, San Filippo Neri, San Giacinto and San Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Idris

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a church dedicated to Saint Augustine, in Matera. The church and the adjacent convent dominate the Sasso Barisano from a rocky spur.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Sedile

    Palazzo del Sedile (Palace of the Seat) is an ancient building located in the square with the same name, in Matera.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo del Sedile was built in 1540 by the Archbishop Saraceno and was used since then as the seat of the Municipality of Matera. The current structure is due to the expansion and renovation works carried out since 1759. The offices of the municipal administration were housed here until 1944, and then moved to the former Monastery of Santa Lucia, in Via Luigi la Vista. Since 1982, the offices are located in the current and modern Town Hall, located in Via Aldo Moro. In the last decades, the palace changed its use, becoming the main venue of the National Conservatory of Music dedicated to the composer Egidio Romualdo Duni. The underground levels of the building host since the early 80s a modern Auditorium with a capacity of about 450 seats.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade is characterized by a large entrance arch flanked symmetrically by two bell towers, one with a sundial and the other with a clock. The facade is adorned with six statues: two above the arch, in a central position, representing the Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Sedile

    Piazza del Sedile is a square in Matera, located between Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Piazza Duomo, a transit place in your way to the Civita, the highest point in the city.   SHORT HISTORY During the 14th century, the square was called Piazza Maggiore, and was the main hub of the town, housing the market, warehouses and shops. Around the middle of the 16th century, the square became a political and administrative center, with the governor’s offices, the prison and the municipal building known as Palazzo del Sedile (Palace of the Seat) located here. Today, the square plays a socio-economic-cultural role, dictated by the presence of numerous restaurants, bars and tourist attractions.   ARCHITECTURE Piazza del Sedile has a well-defined geometric shape, derived from the layout of the palazzi that enclose it on all sides. The most interesting palace is, of course, the Palazzo del Sedile, located to the south of the square. From the Piazza del Sedile, you can access the nearby Sasso Barisano through the arch of St. Anthony that opens on the north side of the square, and Sasso Caveoso through Via Pennino, to the south of the square.   TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Castello Tramontano

    Castello Tramontano is an imposing castle located on the Lapillo Hill, overlooking the historical city center of Matera.   SHORT HISTORY Although the new King of Naples, Ferdinand II, promised to the Materans that he will not give the town to another feudal lord, the Count Giovan Carlo Tramontano obtained Matera and the surrounding area in 1496. The castle, with a large central tower and two small ones on the sides, was built by the count, in Aragonese style, starting with 1501. In debt, the count collected numerous taxes from the population, and became unpopular to the people of Matera. For the construction of the castle were spent as many as 25,000 ducats, and this weighed even more on the population. Tired of the continuous abuses, some citizens murdered the tyrant on December 29, 1514, as he was leaving the Cathedral of Matera, in a street which was later eloquently called Via della Riscatto (Street of Redemption). The castle remained unfinished. Since 2008, the castle, together with the surrounding park, is undergoing restoration.   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 Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni Battista

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista (Church of St. John the Baptist) is one of the most important churches in Matera, located outside the walls of the historical center of the city, in Piazza San Giovanni.   SHORT HISTORY A church was documented on this place since 1204, under the title of Santa Maria Nuova. The church belonged to the Benedictine monks, who abandoned it in 1212. Between 1230 and 1233, the Archbishop Andrea built a new church for the Augustinian nuns arrived in Matera from Palestine in 1198, and hosted for a while in the rupestrian Monastery of Madonna delle Virtù. After 1412, the nuns left the rule of St. Augustine to take that of St. Dominic, and the convent changed its title to Santa Maria dell’Annunziata. The church was abandoned in 1480, during the War of Otranto, because its position outside the city walls was too risky for the nuns. In 1610, the main facade of the church was incorporated into the adjacent hospital building, and the current facade is, actually, its right side. The church was reopened as a place of worship in 1695 by the Spanish Archbishop Antonio De Los Ryos y Colminarez, and dedicated to Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Peter and Paul

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]