If one looks up to the right, walking along Via Fiorentini, the Torre Metellana comes into view. This was formerly part of the defensive city walls around the Civita, that part of the city on the plateau which, given its position and characteristics, has always been the defensive bastion and the political and religious heart of the city. It is in fact a sort of fortress and acropolis, perched over the precipitous edge of the ravine of the River Gravina, thus needing no more than an encircling wall to render it pretty well impregnable.
An ancient chronicle by Eustachio Verricelli tells us that there would have been six towers along the wall, built and paid for during the C11th by a certain Metello, a brave captain who led his men to numerous victories over the Saracens, and made his permanent home in the city. The Torre Metellana is named after him. The only other tower that survives from these ancient fortifications is the Torre Capone, which is visible from the Sasso Caveoso, whereas the Porta di Suso, the archway leading to the Cathedral, is the only other remnant of these ancient defences.
Legend has it that the tower was actually built by the Roman Consul Quinto Cecilio Metello Numicidio, alleged to have died at Matera and from whom the city took its name: Methola.