Cattedrale di Matera (Matera Cathedral), Matera

Cattedrale di Matera (Matera Cathedral), Matera (must see)

Matera Cathedral is an Apulian-Romanesque edifice of the 13th century. It sits on the highest spur of the old city that divides the two Sassi (Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano). The Matera Cathedral was completed in 1270. Unlike the interior, which has experienced many changes, the outside has remained almost intact.

The facade is dominated by a rose window of sixteen rays surmounted by Archangel Michael Crushing the dragon. Below is an Atlas apparently supporting the window. Descending from the pediment are 12 lemons symbolizing the evangelists and apostles.

The bell tower on the left side of the church stands 170 feet high. It has four floors; three have mullioned windows. The fourth floor has single-light windows with a pyramid above.

The main entrance has a full-basket arch with a lunette. On the sides are statues of Saints Peter and Paul. At the ends are the reliefs of Saints Eustachius and Theopist. Two crouching lions flank the right door. The prophet Abraham stands guard on the left.

Matera Cathedral has a Latin cross plan and three naves. The aisles are divided by arcades supported by ten ornate columns. Inside are a 13th-century Byzantine fresco of the Madonna della Bruna and Child by painter Rinaldo da Taranto, relics of St John of Matera, 60 carved choir stalls, and the sculpture Nativity Scene by Altobello Persio.

The wooden ceiling is decorated with three paintings by Calabrian artist Battista Santoro. The stucco decorations are covered in gold leaf. Considerable restoration work has been done to strengthen the medieval trusses and cornices. In March 2016, the Cathedral was re-opened for worship.

The incredible Chapel of the Annunciation, dating back to the 16th century, should not be missed. It is near the last chapel on the left. It has a coffered ceiling and niched walls. The chapel houses the statue of the Virgin Mary and the Angel on the altar, flanked by Saint Roch and Catherine of Alexandria. Above all this is a lunette with a pieta.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Matera. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cattedrale di Matera (Matera Cathedral) on Map

Sight Name: Cattedrale di Matera (Matera Cathedral)
Sight Location: Matera, Italy (See walking tours in Matera)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Matera, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Matera

Create Your Own Walk in Matera

Creating your own self-guided walk in Matera is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Matera's Ancient Cave Churches

Matera's Ancient Cave Churches

Within the old city of Matera, there are more than 160 churches. Many of these are actually carved into the soft limestone cliffs lining the Gravina River. There are even some used for pagan rituals. The churches were carved from existing caves and tunnels. More than a few sanctified cave churches have been converted to storage and homes.

A good example to start with is the St. Anthony...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Matera Introduction Walking Tour

Matera Introduction Walking Tour

Architectural historian Anne Parmly Toxey said the cave areas of Matera had been occupied for at least 3,000 years. There have been settlements in Matera since the Paleolithic era.

The town itself was founded in 251 BC by Roman consul Lucius Caecilius Metellus. He called it Matheola. Subsequently, the town was occupied by Longobards, Byzantines, Saracens, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese, and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles