Monopoli - Città Turistica
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Insediamenti rupestri


Cripta dei Santi Andrea e Procopio (località Assunta)Since the VIIIth century to the XVth a peculiar spread of rupestrian settlements developed in the southern areas, especially in Apulia region, built up thanks to monastic communities who came from Greece around which underground villages carved into the soft tufa were settled. There are many church-caves with fine frescoes from the Byzantine school within the urban area; the church of Madonna del Soccorso, S. Maria Amalfitana and S. Leonardo that on request can be visited. In Monopoli country-side, the rupestrian settlements, within the walls of the rifts (that were) often enlarged or adapted to the pre-existing natural hollows or carved them completely, were settled next to the rupestrian churches and equipped with altars, columns, iconostasis, according to the eastern style. In many of these, traces of frescoes on the walls are survived. Thanks to the subjects represented, churches were named. Significant is the architecture of the rupestrian church Spirito Santo with three naves carved into the rock as if the ceiling is nearly hold by rough columns all with different capitals. The crypt of S. Giovanni di Staveta represents a beautiful dyptich with S. Giovanni Battista, an Odegitria with the Child on the right arm instead of the left one as usual. On the inside of masseria Zaccaria there is the crypt of Cristo campanarello, with the pieces of a fresco that represents a Crucifixion and an archangel. The rupestrian church of Santa Cecilia within the botanical garden Lama degli Ulivi ("rift of the olive oil trees" )is of course one of the most important place of worship in Monopoli countryside even if frescoes on the walls are in a state of ruin. Farther away, near L'Assunta country side district, there is the rupestrian settlement of Santi Andrea and Procopio built around the homonym crypt in which many frescoes are still evident; according to an inscription dated to XIIth century on the external wall it was carved by order of the deacon called Giovanni and dedicated to the apostles Pietro and Paolo. The settlement carved into the walls of a narrow rift is used until recent times and it presents rooms where a daily routine and common activities took place such as an olive –oil mill used to grind the olives, a wine press to squeeze the grapes, two mills and a furnace, two rooms for agricultural and sheep- farming activities.




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