Photographs and original elaborations of AntonioFlorino Automatic feed except the photo 2
Based on archeological findings, the first settlements in the Maratea region date back to the Paleolithic era. In the 15th–14th century BC a village grew up on top of the little headland called La Timpa . This was a small trading center, and its existence is documented until 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Lucania .During the Roman era, the region continued to be a trade center: on the seabed near Santo Janni island dozens of ancient anchors have been found, and these are now on display in the local museum.After the fall of the Western Roman Empire , southern Italy became part of the Byzantine Empire , starting from the Gothic Wars (6th century) . From the 7th century, the Tyrrhenian Sea came under the control of the Saracens , (Sicily became a Muslim emirate in the 9th century), who sacked numerous towns. So, for safety reasons, the local inhabitants moved to the high ground of Mount San Biagio , where they built the so called Castello , a little fortified urban centre.In 732 a ship, fleeing the religious persecution of Leo III the Isaurian , brought the sacred remains of Saint Blaise to Maratea, who thereafter became the patron saint of the town. The remains of the saint are still kept in the Maratea's Basilica, which is built over an ancient temple of Minerva .In 1077 Maratea, together with the rest of Southern Italy, was conquered by the Normans .In the 11th-12th century, since the Castello could no longer accommodate the increasing population, some of the people of Maratea decided to found a new urban centre, historically called the Borgo (a word that means "village" in Italian ). Today the ancient Borgo is the principal urban centre of Maratea. In view of the risk from Saracen attacks, the Borgo was situated behind Mount San Biagio, so that it could not be seen from the sea.In 1282 the war of the Sicilian Vespers began, in which the houses of Angevins and Aragon fought for control of the Kingdom of Naples . The war ended in 1302, but the dispute continued for another century. Between 1302 and 1496, thanks to its loyalty to the royal house, Maratea was awarded numerous grants of autonomy. The Castello was put under siege in 1441, by Lauria (a nearby town), and in 1495 by Angevins soldiers. On both occasion it resisted successfully.From 1566 to 1595, six guardhouse-towers where built along the coastline, to protect the new villages that had developed in the meantime: Acquafredda , Cersuta and Porto .On 2 May 1676 the village of the Borgo was besieged by 160 bandits. However, the guards of the Castello killed the bandit leader and captured the remainder of the gang.In the 18th century Maratea entered a period of progress and prosperity; on April 12, 1734 the first hospital of Basilicata was opened in the town. Many of the so-called 44 churches were built during this period.When Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself King of Naples , Maratea was one of the few cities which did not accept French supremacy. In August 1806 the nearby town of Lauria , whose citizens also refused to acknowledge Napoleon, was set on fire by general André Masséna . Alessandro Mandarini, mayor of Maratea and commander of its castle, believing that Maratea would be the next target, evacuated the inhabitants to Sicily . Since Mandarini had been promised relief from the English army, he remained, with only 1,000 men, to defend the castle and the town. After three days under siege, Mandarini, who did not received any help by the English, was forced to surrender ( December 10th 1806). In token of their great admiration for the brave resistance, the French spared the lives of the rebels, but ordered them to pull down the walls of the castle. The latter was slowly abandoned during the 19th and 20th century.After the return of the House of Bourbon to the throne of Naples , a movement developed that would have brought about the political unification of the peninsula. In 1848, one of its leaders, the revolutionary Costabile Carducci, was killed after years of being hunted by the Neapolitan militia.In 1861 Italy was finally united. However, at this time Maratea suffered extreme poverty, in common with the rest of Basilicata . Many of its inhabitants emigrated to the United States or to Venezuela , and with their economic help Maratea was connected to the railway network in 1894, built its first aqueduct in 1902, had electrical connection from 1924, and tarred roads connected the Old Town with the outlying districts on the coast in 1930.Thanks to the help of Stefano Rivetti, an Italian industrialist, in the 1950s the economic situation of Maratea improved: factories (a wooden-mill and an industrial estate) and many hotels were opened.
The interior, remodeled and restored often until a few years ago, is now decorated with stucco on the lines of the baroque style .
The Annunciation, attributed to Simon from Florence, Tuscan painter working in the Basilicata region in the sixteenth century. The work, of excellent workmanship, recalls the iconography of the work of Leonardo.
Above the entrance houses a painting, dated to the seventeenth century, representing the scene of the Annunciation