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The Church of San Pietro Mandurino 


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As old as the hills, the church of San Pietro Mandurino was restored in 1724 and is still today the heart of the city’s archaeological park, in close proximity to the Messapian necropolis.

Made up of an upper church and a crypt accessed through a rock-hewn staircase, the building is thought to be the first example of a chamber tomb of Hellenistic age, featuring a stepped dromos, a small corridor covered with a semi-barrel vault and an opposite quadrangular chamber.

Hewn out of a rock monolith, the church dates back to the 9th century, while the crypt is undoubtedly older, featuring two aisles and two apses separated by a row of three piers. Along the aisles are frescoed niches, repainted in the 19th century.

In 1972 have been uncovered some medieval tombs located under the floor, the corridor was enlarged east- and westwards for religious purposes and turned into a central crypt of the Byzantine type, and the chapel was separated by a wooden iconostasis, thus isolating the original chamber that housed the classical tomb.

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