Le Dodici Lune

Via San Giacomo, 27, Sasso Caveos, Matera, 75100, Italy

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Le Dodici Lune
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Travel Tips for Matera

Castello Tramontano

by hquittner

The castle sits on the highest point in Matera and it peeps out at you from many vantage points. We saw it best when we climbed the street from our hotel on via Ridola to via Lucana . We had to do this almost daily because the former street is too narrow to accept tour buses. The castle is not open to the public so go no further. It is a monument to the socio-political history that shaped Matera. Tramontano was the Napolitan-Spanish overlord appointed count in 1497. He built the castle to protect himself but was killed by the Materans before completion in 1517.

The Other Churches of Matera

by hquittner

"Piazza Vittorio Veneto"

There are many churches frouped around the main square of Matera. Here to the left is the South side of San Domenico. The West facade is at its left with its decoration barely visible (seen in Things to Do). In the foreground is an entrance to the Hypogeum which may be open for visits. Barely seen at the right is the rusticated facade and belfry of the small Chiesa dei Cavalieri di Malta. Behind us are the Monument to the Fallen and the Convento dell'Annunciata. Our walk takes us north up via San Biagio

"Chiesa San Giovanni Battista"

5{the erection of 3 major churches in Matera; the Duomo, San Domenico and this one. The combination of Saracenic, Norman and other influences is easily seen (especially the Arabic niche recessing).The classic Romanesque facade is in the TtD tip.

"More to see at S.G.B."

Look at this window below the bell tower on the South. It contains more Byzantine foliate figuration and other developing carving expertise. Go inside and note how tall it is and the capitals of the columns. (It was too dark for a good picture).If you have the time head north from here to visit the Custom tips of the bakery, ebonista, and Padre Pio statue. Across the way is another small old church San Rocco (closed?). Go in. Return to the Piazza and continue to the via Ridola.

"Not out of Purgatory yet (pray for us)"

We take the via del Corso from the P. V. Veneto to the via Ridola. On the way we pass on our right the Chiesa Santa Lucia up some stairs (look in). Further on (on the lt. after the Upim) a square opens up with a fine Baroque facade (1670). This is San Francesco d'Assisi. It is built upon a foundation that is its crypt, of an earlier church and it is worthy of a visit.

"Chiesa del Purgatorio"

On your right in the via Ridola is the Purgatorio. Hitch your horse and buggy to this post outside. The hourgalss with wings on the side reminds you that time flies and death (the skulls) is approaching. Prayer is in order. Inside there are more skulls in appropriate places, but before you enter scan the roof and find the soul burning in Hell. I do not know the significance of the bees decorating the facade (maybe the Madonna knows).

"Not out of Purgatory--Keep praying"

With the picture of the sinner in mind we enter the church. It is quite elaborate and contains everything I dislike abou the Baroque. However there is a 18C organ and paintings of which they are proud. But keep looking for the death symbols here and there. You may even find the remains of the venerated one who was the excuse for the building.

"We return"

There are two more religious buildings down the via Ridola, but they are museums and are in another Travelog. You can add them to this walk at this point. However we are off to the Duomo which also has a Travelog of its own. To get there go back to the Piazza of St. Francis anf go around the right side as you face the church. You will soon come to the Piazza Sedile and on your right you will see a "Palazzo" which looks more like a deconsecrated church to me, but is the Music Conservatory (As proof we could hear it and see students ganging out).At this point you find the via Duomo going sharply uphill. Climb and you will pass opn your right a real Palazzo which appears to be unoccupied. It is called Santoro-Padula and a picture of its facade is #3 in my Matera Introduction.

"The end and an omission"

You will finally reach the Duomo which is a fine experience since you must be a church enthusiast if you got this far. I found that I had a picture of San Rocco (which should be #2 in the series.) If it is open peek in. It has a different crucifix. (we did not see it).


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