For the past 1500 years, “a primordial syncretism of absolute value” has taken place between the walls of Santa Maria della Croce, in Casaranello, Apulia – a simple, rural Paleochristian church from the 5th century. “Tiles represent humanity guided by the Virgin Mary to the heavens, through an intriguing, symbolic numerology” (Vv.Aa., “Salento d’autore. Guida ai piaceri intellettuali del territorio”, Manni Editori, San Cesario 2004).
“It is very likely that skilled workers from the area of Thessaloniki created the decorations for the polychrome tiles of the ‘Paradise on Earth’, in the apses’ arch and in the small ‘Empyrean’ dome, with nine spheres according to the Ptolemaic model.”
Side by side with the mosaics, there are frescoes spanning from the 11th to the 14th century, telling stories about the lives of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints.
A wonderful example of Western world and the Orient meeting in the beauty of art.