The historic town centre stands on a hilltop at an altitude of 550 m a.s.l. between the valleys of the Bradano and Basentello rivers. The narrow little streets of the town reveal its timelessness and the palazzi give it an aristocratic appearance, thereby contributing to the charm the place evokes.
NOT TO BE MISSED
The present-day Cathedral, which had been destroyed and rebuilt several times, goes back to the 18th century. Its architectural style is somewhat unusual as the rear part resembles a fortress. Inside is Mantegna’s statue of St. Euphemia dating from 1454, donated by the De Mabilia family.
The underground chapel of St. Francis’ Church in the square bearing the same name is decorated with frescoes from the 1300’s with references to paintings by Giotto.
The Franciscan Convent, on the other hand, houses the Janora Archaeological Museum with finds that go from Prehistory to the period of Ancient Greece.
Outside the walls of the town there is an ancient aqueduct –I Bottini – with underground shafts supplying a fountain with twelve mouths.
Irsina’s cuisine is based on dishes from the rural tradition. These simple dishes change according to the season, with the main ingredients being those coming from the land such as cereal grain, eggs, fig syrup and vegetables. The sweets are really special –the “ciam millen”, “mastaccer” and “pzzit” –confectionary made with fig syrup. On Palm Sunday, the specialty is “lag’n’ pu mir cut” – a pasta dish with fig syrup topped with fried breadcrumbs.
Most of the events are linked to religious holidays such as St. Euphemia’s Feast Day ( 16th September), the Night of St. Roch (14th August) and Pizzicantò in May. The calendar of events also includes “La Notte Romantica dei Borghi più Belli d’Italia” (The Romantic Night of Italy’s Loveliest Small Towns) (in June) , Irsina Arte ( in April and September) and “Borghi dei Desideri” (Towns of Your Dreams) (10th August).
A number of excursions may be undertaken. The first one, by bike or on horseback along the horse trail in the hills around Matera, between the Bradano and Bilioso Valleys in the vicinity of Grottole, Grassano , Irsina and Tricarico. The second excursion is in the Verrutoli Woods about 10 km from Irsina. It is ideal for those who long to get off the beaten track as well as for those who want to go on a day-trip and have a picnic in an area with tables and benches.
– Visit the Multimedia exhibition of “The Treasures of the Bradano Area” located in the deconsecrated Annunziata Church (Church of the Annunciation) where visitors can discover Irsina by means of holographic video showings and virtual sets;
– Enjoy walks outside the historic town centre, visiting “I Bottini”, the valley of vegetable gardens and the ruins of the ancient abbey of the Chaise-Dieu monks.
3 UNMISSABLE PROPOSALS
1. Visit to theConcattedrale of Irsina, to admire Sant’Eufemia, stone sculpture attributed to Andrea Mantegna of 1454 and the monumental crypt.
2. Visit to thecrypt of San Francesco, frescoed in 1300.
3. Visit to the Bottiniin Contrada Fontana, underground tunnels that channel spring water and lead to the monumental fountain with twelve vents.
Department of tourism: tel. 3272024275
CTG PLUSOS Association: tel. 3200608999
COOP. ARENACEA: tel. 3356494861