In the late 14th century, Raimondello Orsini del Balzo visited the Holy Land, including the monastery of St. Catherine. In his desire to possess a relic of the saint, he bent down to kiss the mummified body and bit off one of her fingers, which still wore a ring.
On his return to Italy, he built a church to house the relic in Galatina between 1384-1391.
The church building is a combination of the Apulian Romanesque and Gothic.
The interior frescoes, commissioned by Raimondo’s wife, tell the stories of the Apocalypse, the seven sacraments of the Catholic church, stories of Genesis, and other subjects.
Ceiling vaults. Part of the cycles about the seven Sacraments and the hierarchy of angels.
Detail of decoration in the nave. Scenes from the Apocalypse to the right.
The side aisles were also frescoed.
Reliquery of St. Catherine’s finger. The green stone of her ring is visible.
The basilica is a hidden gem. Well woth a visit if you are in the heel of Italy.
Noah’s Ark and the bodies of the unfaithful.