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.

Cristo la Gravinella

Cristo la Gravinella

Madonna delle Tre Porte

Madonna delle Tre Porte

Santa Maria della Valle or La Vaglia

Santa Maria della Valle or La Vaglia

Sant’Angelo and Santa Maria (La Cripta del Peccato Originale)

Sant’Angelo and Santa Maria (La Cripta del Peccato Originale)

Madonna dell’Aloja or della Loe (Madonna della Murgia)

Madonna dell’Aloja or della Loe (Madonna della Murgia)

Casale di Sant’Andrea

Casale di Sant’Andrea

The Saracen Village

The Saracen Village

Madonna dei Derelitti (Madonna della Scordata and San Nicola sulla Murgia dell’Amendola)

Madonna dei Derelitti (Madonna della Scordata and San Nicola sulla Murgia dell’Amendola)

The Don Pirro Groya Apiary and the Crocifisso church (The Crypt of the Four Evangelists)

The Don Pirro Groya Apiary and the Crocifisso church (The Crypt of the Four Evangelists)

Convicinio di Sant’Antonio

Convicinio di Sant’Antonio

Madonna de Idris

Madonna de Idris

Madonna della Croce

Madonna della Croce