The complex of San Domenico dates back to 1230 when Blessed Nicola da Giovinazzo, disciple of the Saint, established the order of the Preaching Fathers there. Outside it has the original thirteenth-century structure, except for the facade, which originally ended in a spire. Of Romanesque-Apulian style, it is dominated by the motif of blind arches with pilasters, present on the facade and on the side wall. In the center of the rose window is depicted a dog that has a torch in its mouth, a symbol of the Dominicans (Domini Canes, the dog guarding the Lord – the torch represents faith.). On the Wheel of Fortune we have dedicated a separate study.
The guided tour illustrates the whole church in detail: inside; Latin cross, with three naves. The vault, originally with trusses, was demolished in 1609 and rebuilt in tuff. Above the entrance, in the choir, a beautiful organ from the 1600s; at the base there is a discreet painting. In the right aisle, immediately after the entrance, there is the tomb of Orazio Persio (1589-1649), depicted in the portrait above. Immediately afterwards is the chapel of the Persio family which, on a side wall, bears a recently discovered seventeenth-century fresco depicting the Visitation (1600) .An altar follows with a copy of Raphael’s “Holy Family”, executed by Domizio Persio. Continuing, on the next altar there is a “Pietà” from 1614, painted by the materano G. D. Oppido. Follows the Chapel of the Madonna del Rosario where, on a pillar, a plaque recalls that, through the intercession of the Madonna, in 1630 the city was saved from an epidemic of plague.
The chapel, with an octagonal base, has a hemispherical, coffered dome, culminating in a skylight, embellished in turn by a carola of angels carved in the tuff. On the top of the dome, following a series of concentric circles, we read: “Si lumen petitis matrem me quaerite solos si flores roseis floribus hortus ego”.
Inside the chapel, the altar canvas is of some interest, made by Matera’s Antonio Antonio Conversi in the eighteenth century. Furthermore, in two niches there are two statues in tuff, of S. Lucia and S. Agata, of unknown. Recent restorations have highlighted bas-reliefs dedicated to S. Domenico, S. Giacinto, S. Pietro Martire of Verona on the entrance arch to the Chapel. The last altar in the right nave is dedicated to S. Tommaso D’Aquino, by G.D.Oppido (1632). As can be seen, all the saints portrayed are Dominican.
In the left nave, you can see, in order, a painting of St. Catherine, then in the First Altar, one by V.A. Convert deciato to the Annunciation. In the second altar, a Madonna and Child, S. Vincenzo and S. Giacinto, by Antonio Sarnelli (1781). Immediately afterwards, in the third bay, there is a canvas by V. A. Conversi depicting S. Domenico; in the niche below, however, there is a tuff statue “Our Lady of Health”, attributed to the sculptor Stefano da Putignano (1518). On the third altar there is a blessing Baby Jesus, by an unknown author (XVIII century). You then arrive in front of the door, now walled up, which in the past served to give access to the convent, adjacent to the church. Above, on the vault, there is the arms of Ferdinand IV.
Finally, on the last altar stands the statue of St. Peter martyr from Verona, by Stefano da Putignano. Moving on to the main altar, in addition to the papier-mâché complex of the Madonna del Rosario, we note the seventeenth-century canvas by an unknown author, “the glorification of St. Dominic”. So, before the triumphal arch, a wooden and fabric statue of St. Dominic (19th century) is exposed in a niche; on the right side, placed in the wall you can admire a beautiful ceramic stoup from 1754.
In the center, a large architraved portal, on which rests a telamon which, in turn, holds a beautiful rose window, depicting the wheel of fortune, dominated by the Archangel Michael.
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