One of the main things I wanted to accomplish, on our last day in Laterza, was to visit the Santuario Maria Santissima Mater Domini, or as it is better known, simply Mater Domini. This church can be found at Via Aborigeni, 101. The church dates from 1736, and was built next to an ancient cave (now, the crypt of the church), where the Madonna was said to appear in 1650.
We arrived at the church around noon, and even though most churches are open until at least 13:00, when they close for lunch, after only a few minutes inside, we were told that they were getting ready to close, and that we would have to leave. We really didn’t get to look around as much as we would have liked, but we did manage a quick glimpse of the crypt.
After leaving Mater Domini, we continued to explore the city.
At the bottom of the town, there is a bridge over the ravine, and if one continues on the road that crosses the bridge, you will end up at the Oasi Gravina di Laterza, an important nature preserve. Even though we knew it was going to be too far to walk to, we thought we would cross the bridge on foot, and just continue on for as long as we wanted to.
The Chiesa di Santa Filomena is on Via Fontana, 1.
The Parrocchia dello Spirito Santo is a modern church that is located on the outskirts of the city.
Many people don’t know this, but quite a few of the towns and cities in southern Italy have large populations of stray dogs. Unlike other places in the world with the same problem, these dogs tend not to be aggressive. In fact, they can be quite loving. On our first day in Laterza, a dog came up to me, wagging its tail, and of course, I petted him. From that point on, he was my best friend! Whenever he saw us approaching, he would come over, always staying a few feet behind us, and follow us back to the apartment, where he would position himself in front of the door, facing the street, for perhaps an hour or so, keeping guard. He would bark at anyone who approached the apartment, in his own way, protecting us. Eventually, he would return to wherever it was he called home or slept, but the next day, he would be back. We learnt from our landlady that his name was Willie, and that he was loved by everyone in town. I, for one, will never forget the joy that the sight of him running across the piazza towards us, with his little limp, brought to me, and I hope he is still doing well, and enriching the lives of everyone he sees!
Next up: We travel to our next destination, Crispiano!
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!