Rock church

The ancient rock church of Santa Maria Masulo, now known as the Madonna delle Vergini, was traditionally open for worship on the last Sunday of May and during the octave of the Nativity of Mary. By ecclesiastical decree, the celebrations in honour of the Madonna were recently set for the 24th of May following the elevation, as proposed by the faithful, of Mary as protector of the territory of the Murgia of Matera. The church, now located within the rupestrian farmhouse of Sant’Elia, was once dedicated to Santa Maria Masulo. The term “Masulo ” derives from the Latin word “mansio”, meaning home, residence, or stay. In fact, It is said that the caves next to the church gave hospitality to the numerous wayfarers who travelled along the Appian Way. Its baroque façade, constructed in stone during the restoration works carried out by Monsignor Lanfranchi between 1665 and 1676, conceals a rectangular room dug out of the rock.


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Also known as Santa Maria Masulo, the church is still under restoration. It is managed by the archiepiscopal curia and curated by Mr. Lino Plasmati