The rock churches

The rock churches that are dotted around the Sassi and the gorges of the Murgia Materana Natural Park are of exceptional historical, artistic and archaeological value. In fact, the park is sometimes known as the Park of the Rock Churches. In the Matera area, differently from other regions of southern Italy, there are no written records of the existence of Byzantine hermit monks or any lavrotic use of the caves located in the immediate vicinity of the rock churches in medieval times. In the city and in the Sassi districts only large monasteries built of brick can be found, none of which were ever a Byzantine monastery. Frescoes with inscriptions bearing clients’ names and more significantly, the tombs dug both inside and outside the churches and in their immediate vicinity clearly indicate that they were private churches and that their function was mainly funerary. The oldest rock churches are closely tied to the economy of the Lombard Benedictine monasteries.

Madonna della Palomba

Madonna della Palomba

Santa croce (Madonna della scordata)

Santa croce (Madonna della scordata)

Sant’Agostino

Sant’Agostino

San Pietro Barisano (San Pietro de veteribus)

San Pietro Barisano (San Pietro de veteribus)

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Medieval wall carvings

Medieval wall carvings

Frescoes

Frescoes

Santa Lucia alle Malve

Santa Lucia alle Malve

San Nicola dei Greci and Madonna delle Virtù

San Nicola dei Greci and Madonna delle Virtù

Santo Spirito della Grancia dei Cavalieri di Malta

Santo Spirito della Grancia dei Cavalieri di Malta

Cappuccino Vecchio

Cappuccino Vecchio

San Vito dei Lombardi (Madonna dell’Aiuto)

San Vito dei Lombardi (Madonna dell’Aiuto)