Chiesa San Pietro Barisano

Top choice in Matera

San Pietro Barisano Church. Matera. Basilicata. Italy. (Photo by: Marka/UIG via Getty Images)

UIG via Getty Images

Dating in its earliest parts to the 12th century, St Peter's, the largest of Matera's rupestrian churches, overlays an ancient honeycomb of niches where corpses were placed for draining. At the entrance level can be found 15th- and 16th-century frescoes of the Annunciation and a variety of saints. The empty frame of the altarpiece graphically illustrates the town's troubled recent history: the church was plundered when Matera was partially abandoned in the 1960s and ’70s.