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Irsina, Province of Matera, Basilicata

This lively agricultural town, formerly an important Byzantine fortified town, lies on the left bank of the Bradano river, on the boundary with Apulia. The present name was given in 1895 in substitution of Montepeloso, since ancient inscriptions were found with the Irsina name on many local items found during excavations.

Info

  • Population: about 4900 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 75022
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0835
  • Demonym: irsinesi
  • Patron Saint: St. Eufemia from Calcedonia celebrated on 16 September
  • Frazioni & Localities: Borgo Taccone, Santa Maria d'Irsi.

History

In 990 AD it was destroyed by the Saracens, then rebuilt and in 1123 Irsina Pope Callistus II established a Bishopric seat in the town. In 1133 it was destroyed again during a riot supported by the barons of the nearby Apulian territory, then rebuilt a second time; in 1347 it was a fiefdom of the del Balzo family and in 1586 passed to the Grimaldi.

What to see

  • The 13th-century cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, one of the most beautiful in the region, largely rebuilt at the end of the 18th century, with inside a baptismal fountain dated 1453, a statue of Sant'Eufemia and a Virgin with Child.
  • The Convent of San Francesco, rebuilt in the 17th century over a 13th century monastery, with a fine crypt below the apse, which incorporates remains of a Norman castle, and many beautiful 14th century frescoes over the inner walls
  • The 17th-century Chiesa del Purgatorio, hosting works of Pietro Antonio Ferro, Francesco Polino and Andrea Miglionico.

Where to stay