East of Matera is Montescaglioso, which is part of the Regional Park of the Murgia and the Chiese Rupestri Materana – the cave churches.  This ancient city enjoys magnificent views over the Bradano river and the Matera ravine. The economy of Montescaglioso is predominantly agricultural, including production of renowned oil and wine, as well as traditional food.

Walking through the city you’ll see various churches and historical monuments. Montescaglioso is the site of one of the most important Benedictine monasteries in Basilicata. The town was initially developed around the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo (1079), situated at the top of the town and surrounded by 15th-century walls. The Abbey is filled with beautiful frescos dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and has a 12th century Abbey Church dedicated to St. Michael with a notable portal and a Norman-style bell tower with mullioned windows.


The 18th century mother church of Santi Apostoli Pietro e Paolo was rebuilt in a late Baroque style over a pre-existing medieval structure. The church displays a selection of canvases created by a Venetian school, including four by Mattia Preti. There is also a 15th century panel of the Madonna with Child. The church of Santo Stefano with its pre-Renaissance portal and the Romanesque church of the Madonna delle Grazie are also worth visiting.