The church called Cristo delle Zolle was built since 1652 on a small crypt carved into the rock where there was a miraculous crucifix. Many people from Monopoli, Castellana and Fasano were strongly devoted to this Crucifix. The first stone was laid during a solemn religious celebration by Abbot Giacinto Sforza, Archdeacon and Vicar. The mayor Niccoló Palmieri and " several believers, especially from Castellana and Fasano participated as well". In 1654 the building of the church was completed and they asked a grant to Regia Camera Summaria (administrative authority who managed finances during the Reign of Naples) in order to set a market that would be held every year, on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of May. The stately church stands out among the olive trees, because of its width and its architectural features, unusual for a country church. The Baroque architecture is smoothed over by the strictness of lines dated to the late XV century. The facade is marked with pilasters instead of the richness on the inside planned according to a Latin cross.
For many years the Church was in a state of ruin completely. Recently, demanding renovation works of the structure had been realized. Renovation works aimed to turn the building in “Place for the Arts”. The theatre space is divided into two parts; the outdoor theatre space is set among olive trees, and the semicircular space for the audience looks towards the scene constituted by the façade of the church, as a classical theatre. The second part, the indoor theatre space consists of a peculiar octagonal mobile stage, placed under the big dome that allows a range of solutions from the traditional nineteenth-century theatre with the stage in front of the audience, to the theater with the stage in the middle surrounded by the audience, according to the criteria of total theater (Gropius, Berlin, ‘30s).Many possibilities of interaction between audience and actors are allowed thanks to the project. Actors can take the floor from the apse, from the crypt, from the main door or from the balcony on the pipe organ according to the performance needs.
You can reach the church taking the county-road Monopoli- Alberobello- exit at km 3. From Monopoli you can reach the church following the road-signs to " Borgo rurale Cristo delle Zolle.
edited by: Miranda Carrieri