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Cripta del Peccato Originale

Contrada Pietrapenta | Basilicta, 75100, Matera, Italy
+39 320 334 5323
Review Highlights
Extremely interesant...

Just 15/20 minutes from the center of Matera, it's easy to arrive by car and it's a wonderful... read more

Reviewed 4 days ago
Óscar M
Albacete, Spain
Unforgettable and moving experience

The crypt is set in open countryside and the quality of the frescoes is remarkable, especially when... read more

Reviewed 25 October 2017
Read all 750 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 good14%
  • Average1%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible2%
Travellers talk about
“original sin” (9 reviews)
“gas station” (5 reviews)
“audio guide” (7 reviews)
Suggested Duration: < 1 hour
Contrada Pietrapenta | Basilicta, 75100, Matera, Italy
+39 320 334 5323
Write a ReviewReviews (750)
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1 - 10 of 69 reviews

Reviewed 4 days ago

Just 15/20 minutes from the center of Matera, it's easy to arrive by car and it's a wonderful experience to complete the caves and churches of the city. The explanation is clear and understable, and the atmosphere it's great. Nice pasta and other products to...More

Thank Óscar M
Reviewed 25 October 2017

The crypt is set in open countryside and the quality of the frescoes is remarkable, especially when you know that animals were kept in there centuries ago. Visitors sit in darkness while special lighting and recorded information is played.

1  Thank adevoti
Reviewed 24 October 2017

The "Crypt" was unquestionably one of the most memorable events of our time in Matera. The 9th century mosaics are astoundingly evocative and beautiful. It was astounding that the frescoes predated the excessively praised Giotto be several hundred years. It was just unfortunate that the...More

1  Thank ThakurSahibMelbourne
Reviewed 22 October 2017 via mobile

Took a small tour- it’s the only way to see this location - tickets are not sold at the site. Takes about 1/2 hour to get there. Maybe 15 mins in the cave. You are not allowed to take photos - just plan to be...More

1  Thank Mary T
Reviewed 17 October 2017

Cripta Del Peccato is worth the time and effort it will take you to get there. Don't go without a reservation, you might be turned away if the tours are full. Book your tour ahead online, (it's easy). These fresco 's are early and beautiful....More

1  Thank Alec D
Reviewed 16 October 2017

Visiting the Crypt of Original Sin was profoundly touching and humbling. The frescoes are beautiful and truly unlike any others. Unlike some other unprotected caves and frescoes, this experience is controlled to protect the site. You need to buy your tickets ahead of time on...More

1  Thank Christopher T
Reviewed 2 October 2017 via mobile

Went out to the crypt to drop in and was refused a ticket as they were booked solid for the day. Given that we had checked out and driving further south hanging around for two days was not an option. The drive in was somewhat...More

1  Thank Richard B
Reviewed 1 October 2017

Matera is certainly extraordinary, but then so are these frescos, again located in a cave a short drive from the town. They are located on private land, owned by two brothers who produce some wonderful Primitivo wine (which is also recommended!). You have to book...More

1  Thank MartinJSDyer
Reviewed 26 September 2017 via mobile

I know frescoes of this age are amazing but I found the visit disappointing. We had audio guides in English but both sets were crackly and had to be regularly shaken about to get the sound back. And the narrator's accent was very poor so...More

1  Thank LMK63
Reviewed 23 September 2017

Having seen Italy Unpacked on the BBC my wife and I knew we had to visit this Crypt! I have never seen such wonderful and ancient paintings in a cave before, It should be remembered that it is necessary to make an appointment with the...More

1  Thank DMF1946
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Questions & Answers
Andrea L
6 November 2016|
AnswerShow 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.
30 August 2016|
AnswerShow 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.