Massafra

Massafra

Massafra is built on the two opposite edges of San Marco Ravine (Gravina), that divides it in two. The most valuable place of artistic-cultural patrimony in Massafra is the group of rocky churches excavated in caves and ravines for which it is entitled as the Thebaid of Italy.

Its actual name deriving from the Greek word mansafros, shows the caves inhabited by the hermits and confirms the inseparable link between the town and the “underground Apulia of crypts and anchorites” which represents one of the most evocative cultural and anthropological events in Italy. The presence of man in this place is shown by the manifactured artcles found in the ravines and dated to a period between the V millennium and 1800 b.c.

You go on towards the ANCIENT CHIESA MADRE drawn on a rampart of the Castle, whose chapel is dedicated to San Lorenzo and of this saint there is a wooden and pure gold statue.

You can continue towards the Sanctuary of the MADONNA DELLA SCALA (1731): it is raised to the end of a spectacular parron that catches in 125 steps the bottom of the Ravine called at one time 'Valle delle rose'. Little distant you can visit the remains of the 'Pharmacy of S. Greguro', a complex of monastic's cells (laura) comunicating beetween them and the CHIESA RUPESTRE DELLA MADONNA DELLA BUONA NUOVA: situated on the parvis of the Madonna della Scala in part demolished for the construction of the Santuary.

Inside there are beautiful frescoes, tbetween which one representing the Madonna della Bona Nova with Baby;

The Crypt of San Marco is very interesting: it is situated in homonymous Ravine and inside there are a circular sink that served for the baptisms and one fresco of San Marco, the CASA DELL'IGUMENO, a complex of coves that gived hospitality to the Igumeno's house, head of the comunity that had religious and civil powers, is rich of graffiti in Greek and Latin characters.

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