Laterza – Puglia’s Perfect Undiscovered Hideaway – Day 2 – Part 3


The Chiesa di Sant’Antonio is located on the main piazza of Laterza, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.


In the middle of the piazza, in the small park, you will find the Fontana della Madonnina, so called because of the statue of the Madonna that sits on top of the lovely, decorated column.


On nearby Piazza Plebiscito, you will find the building that was once the Castle of Laterza, but is now known by the name of Palazzo Marchesale.


The building dates from 1393, and was built by Giovanni and Angelo Triggiano, as a castle to protect the city.  At one time, the north side of the building was protected by a moat with a drawbridge.  These have since disappeared.  The south side has a tunnel that leads from the building, to the nearby ravine.  The building stopped being used as a means of defense in 1546, when the then Marquess of Laterza turned it into his principal residence, and since then, it has been known as Palazzo Marchesale.  Today, it hosts the local Tourist Office, as well as the Museo della Maiolica.  Unfortunately for us, it was not open during our stay in Laterza.


The Ex Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio is a deconsecrated church that dates from 1757.  Today, it functions as the Auditorium Comunale.


Like its neighbor Matera, Laterza has many caves cut out of the rock that lines the ravine on which it sits.  In this city, the majority of these are still privately owned, and now function as sheds, storage spaces, or workshops.  At one time, many functioned as chapels or churches, but have fallen into states of neglect and disrepair.


The Fontana dei Mascheroni, on Via Concerie, dates from 1544, and was built at the request of the Marchese Pietro Antonio d’Azzia.  The masks or faces, through which the spring water flows, were said to protect the city, and its water supply, from evil and demons.


On Via Crispi, a crucifix marks the entrance to the Cantina Spagnola, a chapel carved out of the rock, complete with frescoes and carved figures.  Again, our timing was off, and it was closed during our visit.


This section of Puglia is famous for its butcher shops/restaurants, which are basically butcher shops where you may not only buy meat to take home and cook, but you can also sit, and let them cook for you, much like an ordinary restaurant, just much less expensive!  We decided to try one, and chose Rosticceria Verdano for our dinner that night.  When you walk into the butcher shop, like in the USA, you will see counters of raw meat.  You simply select which meat you prefer, and then, they roast it over an open fire!  We couldn’t decide on one particular piece of meat, so we opted for a variety of smaller portions.  It was one of the best meals we ever had, and with wine, the bill came to less than twenty euros per person.



Next up: We end our stay in Laterza, with a visit to Il Santuario Maria Santissima Mater Domini!


Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear.  If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Laterza, as well as other Italian destinations.  Grazie!

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