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Piazza Vittorio Veneto
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, formerly called Piazza Del Plebiscito, was also known as the "Piazza della Fontana" due to the presence in the past of the great monumental "Ferdinandea Fountain", built in 1832 to collect water from the hill above the castle "De Montigny" , currently moved a few hundred meters further down the road, near the municipal villa.
The current appearance of the square is due to the restoration work in 1993, when the monument to the fallen (Benedetto d'Amore 1926) was moved and the road that crossed the square was eliminated, to bring to light the "fondaco di mezzo", old plan of the city, partly open to the public, which is lit by descending from the iron staircase near the large fountain in pale stone from which high jets of water flow.
The underground rooms that compose it extend over the whole square for more than 5000 m2 until reaching the Convento dell'Annunziata, which has as its base in the foundations a tower probably belonging to the defensive walls of the Tramontano Castle, and includes neviere, cisterns, shops, warehouses and homes.
In this ancient underground city there is a remarkable structure: the "palombaro", a huge cistern more than 15 meters high that could contain 5000 square meters of water, currently used occasionally as an exhibition space and for the moment not open to visitors, which made up for the needs of water supply of the part of the city developed on the "plan"; in fact, in Matera there is no spring water but every drop of rain was picked up and collected in the articulated system of cisterns and channels that pierce the Sassi.
In this settlement there is also a church: the Church of the Holy Spirit (SEE WS), an ancient place of worship dating back to the 9th century, of which the remains can be visited: three naves with traces of very deteriorated frescoes that, however, preserve the ancient elegance, evident in the delicate architectural friezes on the pillars that divide them. It also preserves frescoes unfortunately not very readable due to the poor state of preservation, but which were probably of fine workmanship, as can be seen in the Hagia Sophia, to the right. At the entrance, on the right, it is possible to see traces of the oven and the flint obtained in a recess as this church, like many other Rock Churches, was used as a dwelling during the overcrowding period of the ancient Sassi districts (until the 1950s ).
Crossing the hypogean church of the Santo Spirito, it is possible to directly access the Sasso Barisano using the narrow stairway passage that leads to via Fiorentini.

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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15779 W: 130 N: 32721] (184095)
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