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Cripta del Peccato Originale

Contrada Pietrapenta | Basilicta, 75100, Matera, Italy
+39 320 334 5323
Review Highlights
Remarkable historic site

Just outside of Matera about 20 minutes this former monastery has well preserved murals dating back... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Dillon Beach, California
Fascinating Hidden Frescoes & Crypt!

We found the Crypt easily using the directions below. Having only been discovered relatively... read more

Reviewed 16 April 2017
Saint Louis, Missouri
via mobile
Read all 650 reviews
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The Crypt of the Original Sin, in Matera, is located inside a natural cave on the Murgia plateau, near the old Appian Way. Commonly known as “the Sistine Chapel of rupestrian art”, the Crypt was discovered in 1963 by a group of local youths, who noticed the splendid frescoes in what at the time, had become a shelter for sheep herds.Experts later dated the cycle of paintings back to the second half of the 8th century, with Late-Romanesque style and formal elements of Oriental inspiration, such as the Byzantine-style Triarchsand the profile of the Virgin Mary, majestically represented in the sumptuous clothes of the Byzantine empress, the Basilissa.The anonymous, humble artist – who was soon nicknamed the “Flower Painter” – depicted biblical figures in total freedom: God the Creator, Light and Darkness, Adam and Eve, the three Apostles John, Peter and Andrew, the Archangels and Mary. The paintings on the rough walls of the cave are different and unique in Matera’s iconographic context. The scenes are the fruit of the painter’s personal creativity and certainly speak of his freedom in translating complex depictions, and of a lively spontaneity in drawing images. The Crypt of Original Sin may only be visited by booking.
  • Excellent82%
  • Very good15%
  • Average1%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“gas station” (5 reviews)
“audio guide” (4 reviews)
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
Contrada Pietrapenta | Basilicta, 75100, Matera, Italy
+39 320 334 5323
Write a Review
Reviews (650)
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1 - 10 of 650 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Just outside of Matera about 20 minutes this former monastery has well preserved murals dating back to the 1400s in a cave which used to be the chapel/church. There is a tape narration in English and each mural is highlighted by overhead lights. We drove...More

Thank Halibuthunter
Reviewed 16 April 2017 via mobile

We found the Crypt easily using the directions below. Having only been discovered relatively recently (1963) the grotto dates to about 900 ad & lies in a small ravine & has several excellent frescoes. The English audio guide provides a nice overview. To go there...More

4  Thank JimSTL1021
Reviewed 21 January 2017

We visited the Cripta, having pre-booked via the website before we left Britain. We were given clear directions as where to go to pick up the tickets, although you do have watch carefully for the turn off. We were lucky to be two of only...More

3  Thank Sheena P
Reviewed 15 December 2016

Location not easy to find nor to reach, and thus extra rewarding. The audio guide gives an excellent insight into the wall paintings, a "must see" site whenever in or near Matera

2  Thank Peter G
Reviewed 21 November 2016

Really nice and interesting place to visit, if you like old paintings made in the rock. you have to reserve by phone or via website and then go to a vine yard (Dragone) , where they take you with transport to the Cripta. The guide...More

1  Thank vicQ9563XW
Reviewed 19 October 2016 via mobile

A very unusual and interesting place, the audio guide explained the symbolism of the pictures very well, if you are in Matera you should definitely go to see it.

Thank Emelie_83
Reviewed 27 September 2016

My brother-in-law recommended this for our group after researching things to do around Matera. Very nice presentation and explanation of religious paintings on a cave wall. The presentation has lighting to highlight the paintings during the presentation. Located outside Matera. Quite difficult to find. Our...More

Thank rlrobles5
Reviewed 26 September 2016 via mobile

This tour is an absolute must if you are in the Matera area. The history of the crypt is tremendous, and Antonio will answer as many questions as you want to ask. He was super knowledgable about all kinds of off beat things I had...More

2  Thank CorinnaBsWorld
Reviewed 18 September 2016

If it is possible - visit the crypt and see the frescoes from the 9th century. The presentation is excellently performed in the dark with lights pointing to each fresco and music and narrative.

1  Thank olga_ben
Reviewed 7 September 2016 via mobile

Stunning and well preserved frescos. The old place of worship is tucked away in a cave just outside of Matera. The tour has very well done audio explanation of what you see with excellent lighting. No photos unfortunately.

Thank IndianaGeologist
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
Andrea L
Hi there...I am planning a trip to Matera next year, I'm travelling by public transport. Is there any way to get to the crypt. Thanks Andrea
6 November 2016|
Answer Show all 3 answers
Response from rlrobles5 | Reviewed this property |
as best I can tell, either a very long hike or a taxi. It is moderately far from public roads.
Hi, How long should I allow for the crypt? Is an hour sufficient? Also how safe is the parking area? We check out of our hotel that day and I need to figure out whether luggage is safe in the car or if I'm better to leave it at the hotel and go back. Thanks!
30 August 2016|
Answer Show all 3 answers
Response from IndianaGeologist |
you have a couple options, you can leave your car at the gas station, or follow them in your own vehicle to the site, which is what we did. the site is out in the country and is completely safe.