Basilica of Gesù Vecchio Naples

The Basilica di Gesù Vecchio in Naples is also known as the Basilica Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception and Don Placido. On the first Saturday of the year, a procession is held in the streets of the area around the church.

Gesù Vecchio Basilica Naples

Useful information

Address: Via Paladino, 38 – Napoli. Phone: +39 081 5526639. Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 07:00 till 12:00 and from 16:00 till 18:00; Sundays from 07:00 till 12:00. Ticket price: Free. Official name: Basilica di Gesù Vecchio dell’Immacolata di Don Placido.

History and description

The Basilica del Gesù Vecchio with its baroque facade is called thus to distinguish it from the Gesù Nuovo Church (which is otherwise known as the Trinità Maggiore Church).

Built in 1554, it was the first Jesuit church in Naples. The architect was Giovanni Tristano, who was to become the main Jesuit architect of this period. Tristano was also responsible for the design of the first nucleus of the adjacent Jesuit college.

The convex facade was created in the 17th century, by Giovanni Domenico Vinaccia.

In 1767, the Jesuit Order was removed from the church and it was rebaptized as San Salvatore Church. The convent and its cloister were incorporated in the Università degli Studi. The order returned 10 years later, only to face a new expulsion in the early 19th century.

The church has a single nave and a Latin cross floor plan. There are four chapels on each side.

What to see

Madonna - Gesù Vecchio Basilica Naples

Cosimo Fanzago designed the San Francesco Saverio Chapel and its artworks in the right transept

The late 19th century dome frescoes were painted by Onofrio Buccino.

A double staircase leads up to the baldachin behind the main altar.

The main feature of the apse is the wood and terracotta statue of the Immaculate Conception, with a gold crown and a silver arch.

Battistello Caracciolo painted “San Luigi Gonzaga” (1627).

Marco Pino da Siena painted the “Transfiguration”, the”Madonna” and the “Circumcision”.

Cesare Francanzano painted the altar piece “San Francesco Saverio” (1641). The saint is depicted baptizing the natives. It is flanked by statues of “Jeremiah” and “Isaiah”, by Cosimo Fanzago.

Pietro Ghetti sculpted the “San Francesco Borgia” statue.

Sabato Privilegiato della Madonna Immacolata di don Placido

The “Sabato Privilegiato della Madonna Immacolata di don Placido” festival is held on the first Saturday after December 30th. On that date in 1826, the Madonnina di Don Placido Baccher was declared the Protectress of Naples. The procession, which runs through every street near the basilica, lasts the entire day. Meanwhile, Mass is being celebrated continuously, and pilgrims visit the Madonna inside the church.

Placido Baccher was 18 years old when the Republic of Naples was founded. In those days, people who were suspected of still supporting the former king Ferdinand, including Placido’s family, were killed. The night before he was supposed to come to court, the Madonna appeared to him. The judges absolved him, since according to them he was too meek and innocent-looking to be a rebel. He was freed, but when the verdict was overturned, managed to escape by hiding in a well. Despite serious head wounds, he survived. Six months later, the Republic of Naples was overthrown and Placido Baccher became a priest at the Gesù Vecchio Basilica.

Basilica of Gesù Vecchio Naples

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