Church of Sant’Agostino

Matera, Italy

The Church of Sant’Agostino is a church dedicated to Saint Augustine, in Matera. The church and the adjacent convent dominate the Sasso Barisano from a rocky spur.

The convent was built in 1592 by the monks belonging to the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine on an ancient hypogeum dedicated to Saint William of Vercelli. The church, dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, was built two years later, in 1594.

In 1734, the entire complex was destroyed by an earthquake. Once restored, in 1747, the convent and the church became the General Chapter of the Augustinian Order. The church was consecrated in 1750 by the Archbishop Antonio Antinori.

Over time, the convent was suppressed, and it was used as an army shelter, before becoming a prison and later a care home for the elderly. Today, is houses the Superintendence for Architectural and Environmental Heritage.

Art and architecture

The facade of the church is dominated by the central portal, surmounted by a niche with the statue of Sant’Agostino. Above the cornice, there is a niche containing a statue of a bishop and, on both sides, the statues of San Paolo and San Pietro. Between the church and the convent, the bell tower rises.

The interior has a Latin cross and develops into a single nave with side altars, divided by pillars with semi-columns and capitals. The first altar on the left is surmounted by a canvas framed by scrolls and leaves, which depicts a Crucifixion, with the Magdalene, St. John the Baptist and the Madonna. The second is dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie. The third is dominated by a painting depicting St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Vitus, the Madonna and Child, St. Apollonia and St. Catherine.

On the first altar on the right, a canvas depicts St. Francis of Paola, St. Leonard, St. Joseph and St. Anne. The Holy Trinity and other saints are depicted in the painting of the second altar on the right. The third altar hosts the painting of the Madonna delle Grazie and Sant’Agostino.

The transept, surmounted by a dome, contains a statue of San Vito and one of Sant’Agostino. At the bottom, is the wooden choir. In front of the choir, is the high altar in marble, on which is placed a wooden crucifix of the 16th century.

To the left of the main altar, you can find the access door to the ancient hypogea church dedicated to Saint William of Vercelli. On the walls of the crypt, there are ancient frescoes along with more recent ones from the 17th century.



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Founded: 1592
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Judit Anna Bense (2 years ago)
We weren't in the church, but we enjoyed the view from beside it. It's an angle from which you can see the cathedral, som part of the town and the walley beside Matera as well.
nancy lee (5 years ago)
Our first sight of the Sassi was the breathtaking late afternoon view from the belvedere in front. Don't miss the lovely Madonna fresco in the rupestrian church. Free admission.
Alina Goja (5 years ago)
Didn't visit on the inside. Excellent location with a rare panorama of the city and caves.
Patricia J (6 years ago)
The church is wonderful, however the below grade (downstairs) Rock (Rupestarian) Church of San Giuliano is amazing and shouldn’t be missed. Ceded in 1592 to the Augustinian Friars. The frescos are truly amazing.
daniel estrada (6 years ago)
Nice church to see, at no cost. There are beautiful frescos hidden away within, as well as some great views of Sassi Di Matera. We couldn't resist taking some family photos here!
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