side streets of Matera – I


cobbled street, Matera, Italy, June 2013

walking around the charming old town of Matera, the colors on the walls, on what seemed to be semi-abandoned street, were begging to be photographed. The mid day light being reflected and bounced off , was a blessing for the scene here.  I took this photograph with a phone camera (Nokia Lumia 920).

11 thoughts on “side streets of Matera – I

      • I just asked my husband if he has ever heard of Riscatto used as a surname and he said no, but then he said, it is always possible. Italians do have a pretty hilarious range of words used as surnames, anything is possible!!!!
        That would make it a bit boring though – I wanted it to be the historic scene of some outrageous case of blackmail, or the scene where a very important personage was ransomed. Kidnap used to be extremely common place down in those parts. Some Italian street names have fabulous stories behind them.
        Did you see my post a while back about “Street of the Beheaded People” in Palermo?

          • :) you were right !

            you beat me to it very narrowly. here’s what I found:
            “Count Giancarlo Tramontano, who commissioned it, (having bought the county of Matera from King Ferrante I in 1497) was slain during a Materan revolt against his oppression on 28th December 1514 in the very street which now lies behind us, at the back of the Duomo, which has been called Via Riscatto (which means “deliverance”) ever since.”


          • I just found this English version of the story. This Scottish writer translates Riscatto as deliverance, but revenge is a much better translation. Italians do like their revenge, you know, so deliverance would never come without revenge.


            That theme of fortune—or in this case misfortune—forms part of the story of one of the city’s other major dominant buildings, the Castello Tramontano, situated on the De Montigny Hill. The building of the castle was commissioned by Giovanni Carlo Tramontano (Count of Matera) who was given Matera as his county in October 1497 by the King in Napoli, Ferdinand II of Aragon. The castle though, was never to be completed. The people of Matera viewed the count as an arrogant, tyrannical and merciless ruler during his reign and he demanded substantial taxes from them in order to maintain his luxurious lifestyle. On December 28, 1514 after his latest tax demand, the Materans decided that enough was enough and the following night of December 29, 1514 when the count and the countess went to the cathedral, a group of rebels captured the count after Mass and murdered him in a back street, which has been called the Via Riscatto—meaning ‘deliverance’—ever since. When looking at the Castello Tramontano mirroring the position of the cathedral, its feels almost as if there exists a counterbalance between the spiritual realm of the Church and the lay realm of the despised count.

            The italian version goes into more detail about his death, which was at the hands of so many citizens that they were basically fighting to get near enough to each give him a deadly blow to the head. Then the choole town went wild and rioted, looting al public buildings and destroying all official documentation and paperwork they could lay their hands on, setting fires to burn it all over the town. They entered his palace and destroyed literally everything in it, and then arrested his wife.
            Italians put up with so much, I cannot really imagine how bad he must have been to get them to breaking point like that.

            • :) wow didn’t imagine an innocent looking picture of what looked like an innocent looking place had such drama ! thank you for the wonderful history lesson. The first day in Bari we didn’t have a clue what via meant , having got used to streets and avenues here, but eventually after searching a few B&B’s in the maze of old town streets, we figured what via meant :)

              and I did read your post about the street of beheaded people …its very fascinating

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