The Piano and the Civita

Departing from the Aragonese Castle, which once belonged to Count Tramontano, you reach Piazza Pascoli, where you can visit Palazzo Lanfranchi, the current location of the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, and the National Archaeological Museum housed in the Clarisse Convent. You can then go on to see the Church of Purgatorio, the Church of Sant’Eligio and the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi, in the square of the same name. After crossing Piazza del Sedile and via Duomo, you reach the Civita district, which includes the ancient Lombard castle, the city’s stately residences, the Cathedral and lastly Palazzo Arcivescovile. On Via Riscatto the lovely Church of San Giuseppe and the Crypt of the Benedictine Monastery of Sant’Eustachio are located; the next stops are the Parish Church of San Pietro in the Sasso Caveoso, the famous historical “cave dwelling” and many other rock-hewn churches.

What you will see

Castello Tramontano

Tipologia:
Monument




The Castle of Count Giancarlo Tramontano, although incomplete, is a valid example of a fortified structure in the Aragonese style, and it played an important role in the history of the city. On October 1st,1497, the city was sold to Giancarlo Tramontano, Master of the Mint of Aquila and Naples and son of banker, Ottaviano, and his wife, Fiola Penta. The Count had successfully embarked on a political, administrative and military career and represented people from the district of Sant’Agostino della Zecca and Chief Governor of the arts of silk and wool in Naples. In addition to being the owner of the Torre di Mare saltworks in Metaponto and the Iron and Steel factory in Matera, he controlled the grain market. He took possession of a large number of revenues, first of all, that of the Scannaggio, relating to the meat industry and this greatly exacerbated his relations with the local ruling class who held economic power at that time. Before his arrival, the castle, as noted by chronicler Eustachio Verricelli from Matera, was erected on top of the Lapillo hill, above the vineyards of the city, and was intended to resemble Naples’ Castle Novo, yet be more magnificent, for it was intended to be built more for reasons of personal prestige than for the defense of the city. Although never completed, it stands above the town in all its excellent austere engineering.


Via Castello 75100 Matera





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Palazzo del Sedile

Tipologia:
Historical building and Site of interest




Except for a brief interval in the 16th century, Matera has always been a free city, administered by its citizens. The Palazzo del Sedile was the seat of the Bagliva, a civil assembly responsible for the control of community services, composed of the Bàjulo and the representatives of two alignments: ten administrators appointed for the people and ten for the nobility, plus four for each of the parties with secretarial functions. This seat was replaced in 1927 by the Commissariat for the liquidation of civic services, a court ruled by a special magistrate.
This Municipality was built in 1575, and later enlarged and renovated in Rococo style in 1759. It was the seat of the city’s Town Hall until 1944 and today, is the prestigious seat of the Conservatory of Music, established in 1965 and named after the musician from Matera, Egidio Romualdo Duni (1708-1775), author of about thirty melodramas. Its façade with two bell towers contains statues symbolizing good governance: justice, fortitude, moderation and prudence. At the top are the statues of Saint Eustace, protector of the city and a symbol of military strength, and Saint Irene, guarantor of peace.


Piazza del Sedile 75100 Matera





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This site is now used by the Conservatory of Music.




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Palazzo Lanfranchi – Museo Nazionale di Matera

Exhibition space, Museum, and Picture gallery




Looking out on Piazza Pascoli, Palazzo Lanfranchi is considered one of the best examples of 17th century architecture in Matera. It was built at the request of Monsignor Lanfranchi between 1668 and 1672  and was intended to be used as a seminary thanks to bequests by the town’s mayor Marco Malvindi and Bishop Lanfranchi’s family. The building was enlarged between 1776 and 1822, due to the increase in the number of seminarians. In 1864 it became the seat of the classical lyceum and hosted a young Giovanni Pascoli during his first years of teaching. Currently, the building hosts the National Museum of Matera, which presents numerous rotating exhibitions linked to the territory, complementing the museum’s permanent exhibitions. Amongst the permanent exhibitions, there is a selection of regional religious works from the 12th – 18th centuries, along with some statues in wood, in polychrome stone and papier-mâché. There are also paintings by local mannerists, and a collection of works consisting of 199 paintings and a sculpture, by writer and painter from Turin, Carlo Levi, owned by the Carlo Levi Cultural Foundation in Rome. This collection includes the famous Lucania 61 panels. In addition, there is the Camillo D’Errico Collection, consisting of about 400 prints and over 300 canvases from the Neapolitan, Venetian, Lombard and Flemish Schools of the 17th and 18th centuries.


Piazzetta Pascoli 75100 Matera





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Cattedrale

Tipologia:
Church




Construction of the Cathedral began in 1203 on the orders of Bishop Andrea and was completed in 1270. Of notable figurative impact, both for the harmony and solemnity of its forms, its façade boasts a splendid Romanesque rose window with sixteen spokes, symbolically representing the wheel of life, and five 16th-century statues attributed to Aurelio Persio, depicting a Madonna and Child, the Saints Peter and Paul, as well as Saint Eustace and his wife, Saint Teopiste, protectors of the city. Its interior has three naves with Romanesque pillars and capitals, with a non-protruding transept and dome at its intersection. The church underwent significant renovations in the second half of the 15th and 16th centuries, a period in which the chapels of the Blessed Sacrament, of the Annunciation and of the Nativity were built. The only elements of the original Romanesque style which remain are its pillars and capitals in local stone. Of particular interest are its figured capitals, with images of the wealthy noblemen of the city who contributed to the construction of the church, one of which is painted. The fresco of the Madonna della Bruna positioned within an altar from 1706 is of considerable importance, with refined marble inlays. Within the other chapel there is the sculpted Nativity scene from 1534, by the Matera artist Altobello Persio. On its counter-façade, next to one of the entrances, there is a wonderful medieval fresco of the Last Judgment, inspired by Dante’s inferno.


Piazza Duomo, 7 75100 Matera





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Tourist reception service by the Oltre l’arte Cooperative




Titolarità:

Purgatorio

Tipologia:
Church, Conference hall, and Exhibition space




The church of Purgatory was built between 1726 and 1747 by a Confraternity of shepherds called the “Souls of Purgatory”, whose work was so esteemed and admired by the population, that it was possible to raise the necessary funds to build a church in the renovated Rococo style in the modern urban area, thanks to the donations of the town’s citizens. The façade, characterized by concave and convex surfaces, addresses the theme of death and the transience of earthly life. The church has a central floor-plan with three altars and four pairs of columns in local stone, decorated with faux marble and faux granite, and a wooden dome painted in tempera with the images of the Evangelists and the priests of the Church. The painting over the main altar, by an unknown artist, depicts St. Cajetan praying for the souls in Purgatory. Vito Antonio Conversi’s signature can be observed on the canvas depicting the death of St. Joseph. The canvas of St. Nicholas of Tolentino praying for the souls in Purgatory, can be attributed to the same artist. Finally, there are several paintings by Francesco Oliva, one of which is signed and dated 1785, which tell the story of the Passion of the Christ.


Via Ridola 75100 Matera





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This church is managed by the Oltre l’Arte Cooperative.




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San Francesco d’Assisi

Tipologia:
Church




The original 13th-century church must have been located in a position at a right angle to the current one. Its imposing façade, in Rococo style from 1751, has large windows full of friezes.

Its single nave interior is refined with stucco work from 1756 and numerous 17th-century paintings from the Neapolitan school. On its 17th.century choir, there are nine panels of Venetian art which make up the beautiful polyptych attributed to Lazzaro Bastiani, painted in 1470 with the images of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Paul, a Madonna and Child, St. Peter, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Louis of Toulouse, St. Bernard of Siena and St. Catherine of Alessandria. Its flat ceiling, decorated by local artist Vito Epifania in1945  covered the painted wooden trusses from the 14th century. Of particular interest are the polychrome stone statues of a Madonna and Child from 1518 and of St. Anthony from 1520, by Stefano da Putignano.


Piazza San Francesco 75100 Matera





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