Palazzo Lanfranchi: from diocesan seminary to museum

Palazzo Lanfranchi is one of the most important historical buildings in Matera.  Located in Piazza Pascoli, at the entrance of the Sasso Caveoso, it now represents a reference point for citizens and tourists crowding in the town.

It was built between 1668 and 1972 on behalf of the Archbishop Vincenzo Lanfranchi to be the seat of the Diocesan seminary, with the financial help of Count Malvini Malvezzi.  The building also includes the preexisting adjacent convent, the “Convento del Carmine”, a small deconsacrated church.

In 1864 it became the seat of the “Liceo classico “E.Duni””, that is, the secondary school focusing on humanities, and Giovanni Pascoli has taught there just for a few years, between 1882 and 1884.  His stay was short but intense and significant, so much that the town has dedicated the name of the square where the building is located to this important Italian poet.

In 1980 Palazzo Lanfranchi became the Municipial building.  Since 2003 up to now, the palace has been being the seat of the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Arts of Basilicata.  In particular, the museum is divided into 4 areas: Sacred Arts, Collecting area, Demoetnoanthropological section and Contemporary Arts, where visitors can enjoy the amazing masterworks of Carlo Levi, another important Italian painter and writer who wrote “Cristo si è fermato ad Eboli” (Christ stopped at Eboli), which is the outcome of the time spent in Basilicata during his exile.

The building is also provided with several huge halls, where temporary exhibitions take place quite often.  For example, up to a couple of months ago, the building has housed an important and amazing exhibition dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini, an Italian film director who filmed “Il Vangelo secondo Matteo(the Gospel according to Matthew) right in Matera.

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