Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (Church of San Giovanni Battista), Matera

Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (Church of San Giovanni Battista), Matera

In 1215, nuns of the "penitent" Order of Saint Mary of Acre landed in Matera from the Middle East. They received a chapel called Santa Maria la Nova, formerly a Benedictine facility. In 1229 they commenced work on a new church as a replacement. The replacement church was completed in 1236. It remained in use until 1480.

In 1480, the Ottomans made peace with Venice and sought to expand into southern Italy, starting with Otranto city. The nuns noticed that the church was outside the city walls and the Turks were coming. They abandoned their church.

In 1695 the Turks were long gone, and the archbishop of Matera transferred the parish of Saint John the Baptist to the abandoned 13th-century church outside the walls. The church of Saint Mary of Acre became the church of Saint John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista).

In the 18th-century additions, the sacristy was added along with the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The three domes over the transept were demolished and replaced with vaults. The facade has a gallery of five arches. The center arch is the tallest. It frames the 13th-century portal. A statue of Saint John the Baptist is above the door.

The basic plan is a Latin cross. A central nave is topped with geometric "Lecce vaults" ( a type of composite vault with a shape that resembles a star) flanked on either side with cross vaults. A multi-colored altar is on the left with frescoes of Santa Maria la Nova. In the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament are a painting and sculptures by Matera artists Vito Antonio Conversi and Altobello Persio.

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Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (Church of San Giovanni Battista) on Map

Sight Name: Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (Church of San Giovanni Battista)
Sight Location: Matera, Italy (See walking tours in Matera)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Matera, Italy

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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

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Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
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Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles