The Bandit's Cave

The breathtaking view inside the cave of the famous Matera Brigant that you will love!

The park of the Murgia is the destination of many tourists, rightly attracted by the beauties of the area that can be enjoyed by making excursions and more. At one time, in this area on the north-eastern outskirts of Matera, the peasants, breeders and quarrymen of Matera earned their survival. However, in the Murgecchia district, near the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Palomba, between 1870 and 1890, in some caves there was the hiding place of a well-known bandit from Matera.

grotta chitarrid

April 26th 1896

Eustachio Chita, a brigand from Matera, better known with the nickname of “Chitarrid”, that is small Chita, due to his small stature, dies at the age of only 34 in a cave in the locality of Murgecchia, below the Sanctuary of the Palomba.

Born in 1862 into a family of landowning peasants, little Eustachio lives a not very happy childhood, with a violent and aggressive father and an absent mother, too often forced to suffer violence and abuse that will negatively form his character as a teenager before and adult man after.

He therefore left his family when he was very young to start a wandering between Basilicata, Puglia and Calabria in search of occasional jobs as a farmer, shepherd and worker, always maintaining an antisocial and violent character, and nothing more will be known about him in the city. After returning to Matera, he leads a reserved and solitary life, made up of robberies, extortions and accusations of various murders, for which he will be persecuted by the police who will never be able to capture him.

In fact, he finds refuge in a cave in the Gravina di Matera, still known today as “Grotta di Chitarrid”, a hiding place with a rock bed, a corner for eating food and a small opening on the Gravina, a possible escape route. And right here he is found and killed with an ax to the head by three men, his acquaintances and relatives. This puts an end to a living legend, that of a dark man unknown to most people, guilty of every crime and that has created so much confusion in the city.

In March 1900, four years after his death, Cesare Lombroso, an expert in physiognomy, asked to be allowed to take his body to the Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin, to study it in its somatic features, in search of anomalies and typical imprints of criminal personalities.

Traces of his remains have been lost to date, so the Eustachio Chita case remains an unsolved case, of a bloodthirsty bandit, brigand or scapegoat, never convicted, and “Chitarrid” a character in local history who became a legend.

matera grotta chitarrid
Shopping Cart