Between romanesque and baroque
The historic center of Matera is the ” eighteenth century’ backbone” of the town, because it was made from the period between the end of ‘600 and early ‘700 on the plateau near the Sassi. Indeed, “over” Sassi. Yes, because the imposing buildings of the emerging rural bourgeoisie, churches and monasteries were built on the flat surface obtained with the gradual burial of cave houses, shops, wine cellars, churches and cisterns, which has since remained literally buried until the work of redevelopment of Piazza Vittorio Veneto – current heart of the historic center and the whole city – in the early 90s has brought to light a part that is now open and visitable, the so-called ipogei.
Churches and monasteries
Besides already mentioned ipogei, in 1770 the only pre-existing buildings were three Romanesque churches dating from the early ‘200 with the attached convents: San Giovanni Battista (then called Santa Maria la Nova), San Domenico and San Francesco d’Assisi. They’re still there, to punctuate the wonderful fifth that opens onto the magnificent spectacle of the Sassi.
On the other side instead, on a hill overlooking the plain, stands the Castello Tramontano, unfinished work for the popular uprising that December 29 of 1514 led to the killing of the lord of the city (Giancarlo Tramontano, in fact) guilty of starving and the despair of Matera’s people with the continued imposition of fees and taxes.
Romaesque church of.Giovanni Battista (1233)
Seventeenth convent of’Annunziata