Matera Cathedral

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Matera Cathedral
Matera Cathedral, west front
Basic information
Location Matera, Basilicata Italy
Affiliation Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
State Italy
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Status Active
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Groundbreaking 1230 (1230)
Completed 1270 (1270)
Length 40 metres (130 ft)
Width 55 metres (180 ft)
Height (max) 60 metres (200 ft)
Spire(s) one
Spire height 90 metres (300 ft)

Matera Cathedral (Cattedrale di Matera) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Matera, Basilicata, Italy. Formerly the seat of the Bishops, later Archbishops, of Matera, it is now the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Matera-Irsina.


Matera Cathedral, panoramic view with the Sassi.

The cathedral was built in Apulian Romanesque style in the 13th century on the ridge that forms the highest point of the city of Matera and divides the two Sassi, on the site of the ancient Church of Saint Eustace, protector of the city. Construction began in 1203, the year in which Pope Innocent III raised Matera to the rank of an archdiocese in union with Acerenza as the Archdiocese of Acerenza and Matera, and was completed in 1270.

The original dedication was to Santa Maria di Matera, as recorded in a contemporary notarial document. Then, on the evidence of a will of 1318, it was entitled Santa Maria dell'Episcopio, and from 1389, the year in which Pope Urban VI (already Archbishop of Matera), instituted the feast of the Visitation, it was dedicated to Santa Maria della Bruna, also a protector of the city. Finally, from 1627 Monsignor Fabrizio Antinori, archbishop of Matera, dedicated the cathedral to the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace.


Matera Cathedral
Matera Cathedral

The west front is dominated by the rose window of sixteen rays and by the campanile on the left side, 52 metres high. The cathedral has a Latin cross ground plan and contains three naves. Of especial note are a Byzantine fresco of the Madonna della Bruna and Child, the relics of Saint John of Matera (translated here in 1830)[1] the wooden choir stalls in the apse, the Nativity created by the sculptor Altobello Persio in 1534, the Chapel of the Annunciation of the rinascimento period by Giulio Persio, and the Last Judgment, a precious fresco of the 14th century which re-emerged during restoration work.


Sources and external links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′00″N 16°36′41″E / 40.6668°N 16.6113°E / 40.6668; 16.6113