From Matera to Montescaglioso

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Da Matera a Montescaglioso


We returned to Matera (our first tale: https://www.cittameridiane.it/tra-i-sassi-di-matera/), because it is a magical city that exerts an irresistible charm and today, preparing for his role Capital of Culture in 2019, is more attractive and vibrant. This time our tour was held between the ups and downs and the winding paths of the “vicinati” and the cave houses of Sasso Caveoso, dominated by Monterrone with the rock churches of the Madonna de Idris and San Giovanni.

But before we took a walk in the almost unreal silence of The Sculpture Park Palomba, where inside the Natural Archaeological Park of the Rock Churches, was born on the initiative of the sculptor Antonio Paradiso, a sort of open-air museum. In fact, in this space of six hectares, former site of the Paleolithic, Neolithic village with fortified trenches and the hut down, well and megalithic wall, over the last one hundred years turned into the tuff quarry then abandoned, have found their home the iron and stone sculptures by Nicola Carrino, Pietro Coletta, Luigi Mainolfi, Eliseo Mattiacci, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Giuseppe Spagnulo, Mauro Staccioli. At the center, well visible from the road, stands a car crushed by a boulder, by Antonio Paradiso. The descent into the cave then reveals the other works often dedicated to the flight of birds and the myth of Icarus.

Admission is free – any offering will be used for the care of the park that remains open all year, including holidays. The Gallery can be visited following telephone numbers +39 328 9716135 – +39 339 8663196 (Contrada Pedale della Palomba, State Road 7 Via Appia – www.parcosculturalapalomba.it).

Continuing through the center of town, for walking the overlooking the Sasso Caveoso to Pascoli square, is ideal to park your car on Via Ridola. Before addressing the walk to Porta Pistola, the large open space that you meet down in Sasso Caveoso, the advice is to stop and grab a snack from La Latteria (via Duni 2, +39 0835 312058 – +39 328 4626742 – www.lalatteriamatera.it). We, who arrived on Sunday at 14.45 we were welcomed and refreshed with kindness, professionalism and so courteously. Back in Pascoli square, skirting Palazzo Lanfranchi, home to the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata (square Pascoli 1 – +39 0835 310137-256262), you proceed in the least altered plant city, where you can still savor the atmosphere of the past. Right at the corner of Calata Ridola is the charming B&B L’Angolo del Poeta, where Anna and Enzo have hosted us three of Città Meridiane for the night: we’ll talk in the next Sogni d’Oro.

Porta Pistola, which is a crossroad between the Sasso Barisano and the Caveoso, facing overlooking the canyon where the Gravina stream flows: from here you take a steep path pebbles in the picturesque scenery of the Regional Park of the Rock Churches of Matera (Park Authority, via Sette Dolori 10 – +39 0835 336161 – www.parcomurgia.it) where the Jesce stream flows into Gravina river. Just at this point it has been built the new bridge in the Sassi of Matera, a “suspended bridge” located at the coupling of the path leading from Gravina towards Murgia Timone, with a length of about 35 meters and a maximum height of 9,50 meters.

The bridge is also visible from the balcony near the Church of San Pietro Caveoso. This church, built overlooking the river, is the most impressive and important after the Cathedral and inspires awe in those who enter due to the fascination that emanates from the inside with a nave ceiling planks painted wood representing “The Christ entrusting the future of the Church in San Pietro”, “Our Lady of Confalone” and “Conversion of St. Paul”. The nave ends with an eighteenth-century altar dominated by a wooden altarpiece dated around 1540, the work of an anonymous artist of Matera.

Before leaving Matera in the direction of Montescaglioso it is good to stock its perfumed and fragrant bread from Panificio Cifarelli (Via Istria 17 – tel. +39 0835 385630; Via La Martella 93 – tel. +30 0835 383099; www.panificiocifarelli.it), with active wood stove since 1947, where you can also find irresistible crackers made with ancient cereal to crunch on during the short drive.

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