The church of Santa Maria della Strada in Matrice

santa maria della strada matrice facciata
Church of Santa Maria della Strada, Matrice (CB). Detail of the facade (photo: G. Lembo).

The church of Santa Maria della Strada stands on an isolated hill in the countryside of Matrice, about 15 kilometers from Campobasso, along the Cortile-Centocelle tratturo. From this ancient path of the flocks probably derives its name. Immersed in the green, far from the noise of the city, the church exerts an undoubted charm on the visitor.

Built between the XI and XII centuries, on pre-existing structures, Santa Maria della Strada is a true jewel of Romanesque architecture as shown by the bas-reliefs of the lunettes of the portal rich in symbolic meanings, the external ornaments and the bell tower built at the front edge of the church.
It has a planimetric layout with three apsidal naves punctuated by mighty columns, whose capitals are decorated with different bas-relief figures.

We advise you to linger on some decorative elements of the facade. On the sides of the rose window, with its twelve holes symbol of the twelve apostles, two jutting oxen stand out in the eye, reaching out into the emptiness towards the observer. The rose window is surmounted by an eagle that holds three heads of men among its claws, symbol of Christ who brings souls to heaven and therefore of the resurrection of the soul.
Then enjoy the almost mystical atmosphere of the interior. Among the noteworthy elements there are a fourteenth-century holy water fountain and a fourteenth-century Gothic funerary monument.