Abbazia di Santa Maria de La Matina
It is 31st March 1065. In the presence of Duke Robert, his second wife - Sikelgaita of Salerno - and a few religious exponents, the abbey church of S. Maria de La Matina is solemnly consecrated, on the brink of making its mark in history. Inspired and executed by Robert Guiscard, favoured by Popes and the wealthy, privileged Norman noble class (for example they were subject solely to the jurisdiction of the Holy Father), it rapidly grew in fame and power. In 1092 Pope Urban II was hosted here, promoter of the First Crusade; Bohemond, the Duke's first-born son, was among those who responded favourably to his call to arms. Soon after he departed for the Holy Land to conquer Antioch. The Abbey was Benedictine from its foundation until 1222, when it became Cistercian. With the exception of a few scant artefacts dating back to the first settlement (for example the arched single-light window of the Visitor's room), most monumental testimonials date back to this period, including the magnificent Capitulary Chamber - considered to be one of the finest example of Cistercian architecture in Italy.