Photographer's Note

Church Madonna de Idris and San Giovanni in Monterrone - Matera
The rock church of Santa Maria di Idris rises from the rocky spur of calcareous origin called Monterrone, a place of worship with a striking appearance that infuses an air of sacredness to all the splendid surrounding view. The large cliff dominates the Sasso Caveoso, from Piazza San Pietro Caveoso to Vico Solitario. The name derives from the Greek "Odigitria", "She who shows the way", as the Virgin Mary in Constantinople was called. Probably it was the Byzantine monks, who moved to Matera from the seventh century, to introduce the cult for the Virgin and to have given the name to the rock church. According to another hypothesis, the name could derive from some containers called "Itrie" present inside the church.
The rock church has an irregular plan, consisting of one part carved out of the rock and another built between the 14th and 15th centuries. The facade, made of tuff in the fifteenth century, was redone following a collapse in the fifteenth century. Next to the facade there is a small bell tower.
The interior of the church is completely different from the original structure due to the continuous renovations that have taken place over the centuries due to humidity; numerous frescoes have been detached for later restoration, today they are kept at the Superintendency for Historical and Artistic Heritage of Matera. On the nineteenth-century altar, built precisely in 1807, there is a Madonna and Child dating from the seventeenth century, painted in tempera; on the right is the conversion of Saint Eustace, the Holy Family and Saint Anthony of the seventeenth century, and still a crucifixion with the city of Matera in the background. To the right of the altar there is a water cistern.
The church is connected, through a tunnel located to the left of the altar, to the rock crypt of San Giovanni in Monterrone. In the latter site there are valuable frescoes dating back to a period from the twelfth to the seventeenth century. The static nature of the paintings and the absence of depth denote their dependence on the Byzantine style.
In the access tunnel to the crypt there is the fresco depicting St. John the Baptist; if you look closely at the painting you can see that in the underlying layer there is another fresco, referring to the same Saint. On the altar is represented the Christ Pantocrator, dating back to the twelfth century, holding an open Gospel, testimony of the Byzantine influence in the Matera area. Other fine frescoes in the crypt concern an unknown monk (San Francesco or San Leonardo) and San Nicola (dating back to the 14th century) in bishop's clothes while blessing with his right hand and holding the Gospel with his left. San Giovanni in Monterrone has a raised presbytery and numerous frescoes, including Sant’Andrea, a Madonna and Child, San Pietro without the keys of paradise, San Giacomo and San Giovanni Evangelista. The frescoes were made between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the past, this church was accessed directly from the outside.
The cross placed on top of the rocky spur, four meters high and completely in iron (originally in wood), was made by the master Cosimo Losito in 1937 as a sign of devotion and in memory of the Pauline Missions of 1937.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 17144 W: 130 N: 35491] (195870)
  • Genre: Lugares
  • Medium: Cor
  • Date Taken: 2008-08-05
  • Categories: Arquitectura
  • Exposição: f/0.6, 30 segundos
  • Versão da Foto: Versão Original
  • Date Submitted: 2020-02-27 0:25
  • Favoritos: 1 [ver]
Viewed: 0
Points: 36
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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 17144 W: 130 N: 35491] (195870)
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