Art and culture
History | Matterella | Precetto | Mummie's Museum | San Pietro in Valle Abbey | Castles

The oldest part of the country is definitely Matterella (as it states the name Mater-illa), dating from around 1200. In the highest part of the old village there is the imposing castle called "Rocca" with defensive function. The castle is reached through small streets and beautiful terraces where native olive trees are grown today. Inside village, with considerable interest is the Church of St. John the Baptist that was born at the same time of castle for the people who lived there.  Among the XII and XIV centuries, the houses begun to develop towards the base of the slope around the Church of Santa Maria, the main church of the area after the expansion desired by Franceschetto Cybo in 1494. This important Christian Temple, after the extension became a square with three naves divided by six columns. In the polygonal apse is located a panel represents the Madonna and Child in the byzantine style of the sixteenth century. The lateral chapels contain priceless works of Renaissance art as the Miracle of  St. Thomas by the local painter Piermatteo Piergili of 1557 and the Virgin Martyrs and Saint Anthony of 1543 by the famous painter Jacopo Siculo (1490-1544). Particular value have the pillar of Saint Lucia, the Annunciation and God Enthroned between Angels  made by Orlando Merlini in the end of fifteenth century. Interesting the recent study of symbols carved on the pillars of the lateral chapels, that lead back the church to the “Order of the Knights Templar”. Outside, the imposing bell tower  retains the largest bell of Valnerina.