Il Piccolo Albergo

Via De Sariis 11, Matera, 75100, Italy

1 Review

Il Piccolo Albergo
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  • rivercalm's Profile Photo

    one very sweet hotel!


    Stayed just one night in a double-bed ensuite. The room was small but beautiful! Cable TV, mini-bar, air-conditioned. Modern furniture.
    Whole hotel is like a small gallery. Taking care of details - halls to the rooms beautifully decorated: paintings, vases, sofas, tables, cabinets.... just about enough!
    Breakfast was included in the price - service was great!
    Would def recommend it!

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Travel Tips for Matera

Guided Tours

by Maidstoneman

We thought we might explore the Sassi on our own. You can get a leaflet from the Tourist office. However we opted for a private guided tour and were so pleased as we learnt much more than we could ever have got from the leaflet. We also got into an underground chruch that is not open to the general public. The guides are official and can be booked through the hotel or tourist office.

The Outside of the Duomo

by hquittner

"West and South sides"

The South side has two raised entrance doors. The West side has the main portal. There is a central elevated window on the S. Above that canbe seen the clerestory windows of the nave and the tripartite division in its length. The eastern door of the S. side is just beyond the picture on the right. Note that the Lombard arches continue along the south side of the aisle.

"The Rose Window"

The window has 16 spokes and roundels. It has filler rosettes and a heavy surround and is of good size. (Glass was added in the 17C.) There are 3 flat carved figures at the lowest axis points. They are supporting or perhaps also spinning this "Wheel of Life". This is an antecedent of the Gothic Rose Window. At the top stands St. Michael killing the dragon (devil). Life is a game of chance! The nave is divided from the aisles by columns interrupted by consoles bearing carved figures that are not truly supporting the columns, but most are worn and I cannot decipher them.

"A Column Figure"

This is the best of the column figures. Perhaps he is supposed to be holding up the column. With closer magnification one can see that he is a fine work (a portrait?). He looks like a sculpture i have seen before {a Roman senator? on the pulpit at Pisa?). There are many other heads under the brackets along the central roof line. If you have binocs, examine them.

"Madonna and Child"

This is the Main Portal (W. side). In the tympanum is the significant central group. The supporting members are in niches lateral to the door Peter and Paul (partly cut off). Further lateral are two saints ( one is Eustace) which I am sure were made and placed here much later. There is no elaboration inside the tympanum (lack of funds, talent or courage?). However the surrounds of the door have two arches and a cover that show fine skill at the popular designs of the period (i,e, Norman taste).

"The Entrance (SW) Door"

(and the monks have located them in the books)The first door on the south side is similar to the West Portal but has more structural and sculptural elements.(It is called the Porta della Piazza). At first glance the tympanum is bare but on closer inspection there is a figure in it. There are consoles above the lateral pilasters. On each sits a monk peering into an open book. The surround decoration is finer than the main door and has a Saracenic flavor imparted by the lintel. We enter through this door into a dark area at the rear of the church. Here they are uncovering and restoring a mural showing what appears to incorporate a "Day of Judgement". (It was too dark to get a passable picture). The remainder of the church inside is Baroque of no distinction but contains many items of reverence to the congregation. There is also a most elaborate creche in a chapel that is renowned (but again I failed to get a good picture).

"Why Abraham?"

This is the figure on the tympanum. His name is above, so you cannot confuse him with anyone else.Nobody knows why he is there but now that the inside is being discovered, it seems that he is to remind the common folk entering that he is ready to receive them if they are judged worthy as illustrated inside the church( and the monks have located them in the books!)
The South side has at least 13 sculptures and modillions below the Lombard arches. There is also an elevated central window surrounded very like the East door. The meaning of the column figures is not clear nor is there a function for this window.( Could it be a Messiah door?).

"The East Door"

The easterly door is for the clergy (and certain nobility). It has columns supported by muscular lions with tassled tails (representing the Resurrection?). Nestled in their forepaws are pathetic humanoid figures(souls to be revived?). The columns are topped by damaged bird-animals (griffins?, a symbol of the Messiah?). The jambs, lintel and recessed arches are all well carved an d perhaps symbolic too.. It would appear that all of this is to remind the clergy of their responsibilities.

"The Cradle of Renaissance Sculpture?"

Frederick II died (1250) before the Duomo was completed(1270) and after he built the Castel del Monte (1240). Building funds must have dwindled. In 1252 a 30 year- old Apulian sculptor-mason was commissioned by the Pisans to create theie Baptistry pulpit and this was the beginning of Renaissance sculpture. Somebody must have recommended this Nicola (Pisano). Where had he trained and worked before? The masons were an educated and secretive group who communicated widely, The Cluniacs were aware of all artisans. Barisano of Trani flourished as a sculptor in 1080, but worked in bronze. In the next 2 generations stone carving appeard more frequently and elaborately on Pugliese churches. From 1235-1250 Nicola could only have worked in 2 places : he must have begun at Castel del Monte and continued at Matera.with his master(s). I wish I were an expert who could recognize his hand on the Duomo. Maybe someone will do it someday.


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