A masterpiece of Rupestrian Art

The Crypt of the Original Sin is the most iconic Rock Church in the South of Italy. Commonly known as the “Sistine Chapel of Rupestrian Art”, the Crypt was discovered in 1963 by a group of local youths, who noticed the wonderful frescoes dating back to the second half of the 8th century, realized by an anonimous artist named “The Flower Painter”. 

The cycle of paintings has a clear Late-Romanesque style and formal elements of Oriental inspiration, due to the arrival of Eastern Popes in Italy. The humble artist depicted three Tetrarchies in the three recesses on the left wall: the Apostles, Pietro, Andrea e Giovanni; three representations of the Virgin Mary, majestically represented in the sumptuous clothes of the Byzantine Empress Basilissa; and the Archangels, Michele, Gabriele and Raffaele.

In the back wall are depicted biblical figures related to God the Creator, Light and Darkness, Genesis and to the Original Sin, which gives the name to the crypt. The frescoes are enriched with a huge number of flowers. All the paintings are described with a latin epigraph.

After being abandoned, the Church was mentioned in Domenico Ridola‘s notes, in which is named “The Cave of a Hundred Saints” and in a tale of a sheperd who used the place as a shelter for his sheep herds. In 2001, the Zètema Foundation of Matera launched an exemplary recovery project of the cave church with the support of the Central Institute of Restoration. Works carried out for the Crypt of Original Sin were allowed for the preservation, restoration and enhancement of an exceptional national heritage site, due to its high quality and the extraordinary historical value.


Matera City Tour provides specific tours in order to visit the Crypt of the Original Sin

link ►
cel +39 342.1619245
or at Matera City Tour info points
infopoint A via Rocco Scotellaro, 4
infopoint B via San Biagio, 10