Although the Cathedral of San Giusti in Chieti is much older, it only got its current appearance after a reconstruction that finished in 1770. The church is dedicated to San Giustino, the first bishop and patron saint of the city. Main attractions are the crypt and multiple paintings by Saverio Persico.
San Giustino Cathedral Chieti
Address: Piazza San Giustino, 15 – 66100 Chieti. Phone: +39 0871 330476. Opening times: From 08:30 till 12:00 and 16:00 till 18:30. Ticket price: Free.
History and description
The Cathedral of San Giustino was constructed on the site where an older, 11th century church used to be.
The first three floors of the campanile were constructed in 1335, by Bartolomeo di Giacomo. In 1498, Antonio da Lodi finished the tower by adding the belfry and the octagonal temple topping the construction.
A restoration took place around the turn of the 16th and 17th century.
In 1703, the bell tower collapsed after an earthquake had hit the city.
In 1910, a new restoration started, under the architect Guido Cirilli. Cirilli strengthened the bell tower and united it with the cathedral itself by building a construction in between the two. A new portal was also placed in this construction, which is lower than the rest of the church.
In the 1970s the medieval structure of the crypt was restored and the Baroque decorations were removed.
What to see
Crypt of San Giustino
The floor plan of the six nave crypt is irregular. The fresco fragments still visible were painted in the 14th and 15th centuries. The sarcophagus of San Giustino was sculpted by Marino del Tocco, himself a bishop, in 1432. The sarcophagus contains the relics of the city’s patron saint.
Chapel of the Holy Mount of the Dead
The Cappella dell’Arciconfraternita del Sacro Monte dei Morti is decorated with gilded stucco ornaments by Giovan Battista Gianni, who was one of the main Baroque architects in the first half of the 18th century in Abruzzo. The altarpiece was the work of Paolo de Matteis and is titled Sancta Maria sucurre miseris (“Holy Mary, help the poor”).
The presbytery and secretariat are decorated with paintings by Saverio Persico. Of this 18th century painter not much more is known than that he was born in Naples and that his work was influenced by Francesco Solimena. The main altarpiece is title “Doubting Thomas”.
The paintings in the Secretariat are a “Last Supper” and a “Washing of the Feet”.
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
Another painting by Persico can be seen in the Cappella dell’Immacolata. The chapel itself had been constructed in the 18th century.
San Gaetano Chapel
The altarpiece in the Chapel of San Gaetano was the work of Ludovico de Majo.
The Baptismal font of Verona porphyry was made in 1599.
The vault decoration was the work of a mid 19-the century local artist called Del Zoppo.
The wooden choir was the work of Ferdinando Mosca (1769). Mosca was a noted woodcarver in Abruzzo, who also created choirs and ceilings in important churches in L’Aquila, Sulmona and Penne.