This is an incredibly beautiful and enigmatic place. We visited February 2015 with our guide, Luigi from guida-Matera.it. He was wonderful. I've just written a kindle book entitled 'Matera'.
Amazing history class in Matera from an excellent tour guide (Antonio).No signs or signals to the chapel, but visitors can meet the guide at a gas station about five minutes from the site, or you can just explore the area and ask for directions.MAKE SURE TO CALL AND BOOK BEFORE GOING THERE.The Chapel is very small, but rich in historical information, provided by our guide Antonio. He was very kind and answered all our questions. And because we were the only two people who don't speak Italian, he gave us a private lesson and told us to be his guests for that day.
You have to book the visit beforehand as the guide is met in a petrol station close to Matera and there is a limited number of people allowed but all this hassle is more than worthy when you get inside the cave. The guide speaks only Italian and he is just brilliant. For those who can't speak this language they get an leaflet with the explanations.Main thing go and see the fresco. You will be amazed!
I was there with my friends in april...I saw a part of Bible story on the walls...very interesting place and very good explanations
Just to share our recent experience so fellow travellers can form a more realistic expectation on the crypt. The crypt has no formal address and the only way to drive there is to meet its rep at a gas station 8km away from Matera you follow him to drive there, through the country road. The road leading to the crypt was very rugged and not paved, so almost certainly you would scratch your car. After 5-10 minutes you arrive at a single cave the size of a hotel room, with some frescoes not so well maintained nor really impressive. The room is all dark, and you sit there to listen to 30 minutes recordings describing the frescoes. There are frescoes on 2 sides. You can only look at frescoes when spotlights are shed. Then you drive back and leave. Considering the time and difficulty to drive there and the cost, compared to what we see, I think a sensible traveller may wish to think twice.
This chapel hidden in a cave in the open countryside outside of the city of Matera is a jewel. Still partially visible are the paintings on the walls. There is a slight music in the background whilst the guide explains the details of the paintings and the story behind the formation of this crypt. Also, the entrance to the crypt/chapel is normally close. It is the guide who opens for the visit and close it soon afterwards. Pre-booking is required. The cost is 8 euroThe only disadvantage is the location. One needs to go there either by his own car or with a taxi since it is in the middle of the countryside. The trip from Matera centre by car took us around 30 minutes. Obviously, there are no bathroom facilities and one need to descend a stair chase to reach the entrance.
Incredible very worth a visit and if you are visiting Matera, it is just a few minutes drive from the centre.
This was the first place we visited during our stay at Matera. The details of the art painted on the rock walls is amazing and one really wonders how they survived the ravages of time.
In 2013 I began my visit to Matera with a stop outside the city to visit the "Crypt of the Original Sin". This little chapel carved into stone has been described as the Sistine Chapel of the south. Just a few kilometers from Matera, in one of the ravines that run through the plateau of the Murgia, is one of the most evocative places you can find the Crypt. Inside a small hollowed section of the limestone cliff, you will see art work painted by the skillful hand of the "Painter of Flowers of Matera" who has narrated scenes from the Old and New Testament in a cycle of frescoes dating back to the ninth century. A.D. The crypt was discovered in May 1963, and after an exemplary restoration, organized by the Foundation Zètema of Matera and assisted by the 'Institute for Conservation and Restoration, the crypt has been restored so that we can now enjoy the incredible frescos found the cave. Highly recommended by Melissa Muldoon, la studentessa matta
I asked our guide Green Italy Tours to include this stop en route to Lecce. Very interesting and such well preserved frescoes in the cave. Well organized presentation as you sit inside...it is done in different languages different times and reservation is required. It was worth the time.
Situated a few kilometres from Matera, this crypt was built inside a natural cave overlooking the limestone cliff of the ravine crossing the Murgia plateau. It contains many fascinating rupestrians wall painting dating back to the 9th century. A. D. Those interesting frescoes representing scenes from the Old and New Testament are quite well preserved and recently restored. I strongly recommend it if you visit Matera. However this place is very difficult to reach without a car, there are no buses and the only way is by taxi, but is very expensive (about 35 euros).
Dear Traveller, after having discovered that just 1% of the Matera annual turist visit the Cripta (Chiesa dei 100 Santi) I decided to write this brief and friendly review. It is my second time there within 2 years. The first time I had a special visit organized by some local politicians to show the Cripta to a famous economist from Harvard. The second time I was perfectly anonymous and with some good friends from Milan/Washington D.C. workink at the IADB. We booked the visit on line calling a direct number (cell phone) on a sunday afternoon. We have a 4 people visit for 8euros each. Diego , the guide, was perfectly bi-lingual, enthusiastic and deeply acknowledge and the entire history behind the discovery and the set-up of the Cripta. The Cripta is one of the few PRIVATE (not privately founded) museums in Basilicata and in Italy. An association of Art lovers manages it amazingly. A navette picks you up at a meeting point and drives you there. The place is amazingly well managed. There are audio-guides in Italian, French and English. The lighting of the Cripta is just perfect and perfectly synch. with the audio guide and the Gregorian musics. It is an experience in the middle of no were!
Do not miss these 8th century frescoes in a cave. The entire valley is dotted with these and one can, in fact, find cave churches throughout this part of Puglia. This was the high point of my trip to Matera, although I would have gladly skipped the guided tour and the corny music. They should just open the wall, let the sunshine in and allow us to enjoy the art and the setting. The property is owned by a vineyard. The proprietors are friendly and their wine is quite good. The spumante is surprisingly good for this region.
We were privileged to have Antonio, a young engineer, as our tour guide. Antonio volunteers his time. His passion for the history of the crypt makes the experience even better.
Very interesting and well preserved frescoes; guided tours at different times in different languages; ours (in English) was good if helpful, if rather loquacious