Conceived and produced by Elaine Colandrea, Artistic Director, Watermark Arts
Filmed and edited by Prue Jeffries, Creative Director, Watermark Arts
Performed by Claudia Catani, Elaine Colandrea & Naomi Walker
Music: Stella Maris by Moby courtesy of mobygratis.com
Filmed with permission in San Falcione, Parco Murgia Timone, Matera, Italia
Special thanks to Maria Teresa Barbaro & Paolo Montagna, Director CEA Matera
Rock churches excavated in the 9th and 10th centuries generally conformed to a Byzantine model, having a rectangular or square chamber with plain walls and behind these two arched presbyteries supported by a central pillar. The rock church of San Canione, better known as San Falcione, is no exception. Attributed to the earliest Italo-Greek monastic communities which settled in the area around the 9th century, it’s one of Matera’s oldest rock churches. Located in a small ravine, it’s easily recognised thanks to the perimeter wall built in the 19th century by the noble Gattini family, who used the cave complex as an enclosure for sheep and goats. Inside the church, where the floor is now lower than its original level, there’s a fresco of Saint Nicholas on the central pillar and one of a bishop saint on the right-hand wall. Still on the right, in the altar recess, there was once an extraordinary fresco of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple: Joseph, Mary and the Child were clearly visible, along with Saint Simeon and the prophetess Anna who blessed Jesus with one hand while the other held a missive with words ‘This Child created heaven and earth’ in Greek. Many small cavities excavated around the church are the remains of a medieval apiary.