St. Catald’s Church
At the other far end of the village, in a sort of arm wrestling competition between temporal and spiritual power - although the size and location of the castle clearly show who is the winner - is the majestic St. Catald’s Church, consecrated to the village’s patron saint and former bishop of Taranto (Apulia, Southern Italy).
Dating back to the Middle Ages, the church was renovated in 1735 and it appears today as a mix of different styles. The right side is original, as well as some sections on the left where one of the aisles used to be, but the interior is mostly full of Baroque frescoes and stucco decorations.
Other than the ample round apse that can easily spotted from several miles away, another notable element of the church is the beautiful 19-century wooden statue of Our Lady, known here as the Madonna della Maternità (Our Lady of Maternity) due to her very maternal facial features.
The festivities in honour of St. Catald take place every year over the second week of August, with a solemn procession, traditional card and board games, music shows, plays, wine and local food, like delicious anise-flavored doughnuts. The day of the procession Montenero’s inhabitants are woken up by the sound of the church’s bells and firecracker explosions.