A stunning Baroque building which is now the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art.
Erected by Friar Francesco Cupertino by order of Bishop Vincenzo Lanfranchitra, this stunning Baroque building was built between 1668 and 1672. After the unification of Italy, it was turned into a gymnasium in 1864. Since 2003 it has been used for the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata and today it is divided into three sections: sacred art, Collectibles and Contemporary Art.
Sacred art includes works from churches in the Lucanian territory. The d'Errico collection includes about a hundred paintings of the Neapolitan school of the 17th and 18th centuries, by artists such as Francesco de Mura, Salvator Rosa, Mattia Preti, Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo. These works were bought by Camillo D'Errico at the end of the 19th century and were first kept in the Palazzo San Gervasio, the family home.
The contemporary art section includes the Carlo Levi Centre (1902-1975) where the paintings of the famous writer are exhibited. Among them, is the infamous Lucania '61 showing the misery of the Sassi before the decree of 1952. There are also paintings by Luigi Guerricchio (Matera, 1936-1996) and photographs by Mario Cresci.
The foundations of the building caused lots of problems because Bishop Vincenzo Lanfranchi had to buy some land on the tuffaceous plateau south of the Sasso Caveoso because there was not enough land within the city limit. This makes it the point of suture between the modern city of the plane and the ancient Sassi districts.
The asymmetrical façade is divided horizontally into two parts by a cornice. In the lower part, there are five niches where you can admire the statues of the Madonna del Carmine and of Saints. The upper part has vertical pilasters complete with capital, nine blind arches, the largest of which overlooks and incorporates the rose window, and above the crowning of the facade, there is a pediment with a clock in the centre.