Irsina is an ancient agricultural and craft centre in the north of the province of Matera, on the SS96 that connects Potenza to the town of Altamura in Puglia. On the borders of the principality of Salerno, it was a stronghold against the Byzantine world before being conquered by the Normans. Two churches are worth seeing: the cathedral and the church of San Francesco. The latter was built in a Norman fortress of the 11th and 12th centuries, and was then remodeled by Frederick II in 1228. It is worth a visit for the frescoes in the crypt of the Giotto school (14th century). A few steps away, the artificial lake of San Giuliano is a site protected by the WWF for its numerous aquatic species.

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