The Guglia dell’Immacolata (“Spire of the Immaculate Conception”) takes up central position in the Piazza del Gesù Nuovo in Naples. Originally, an equestrian monument dedicated to Philips V stood on this spot. The current, baroque obelisk was commissioned by the Jesuits in the 18th century after a public collection.
Guglia dell’Immacolata Naples
The address of the Immacolata Obelisk is Piazza del Gesù Nuovo, Naples. Public transportation: Metro: Dante. The nearest bus stop is Sant’Anna dei Lombardi (line 139, 201, 301, 460, 584, 604, N3, N8).
The Italian name for the monument is Obelisco dell’Immacolata or Guglia dell’Immacolata. Construction began in 1746. The Jesuits then commissioned Giuseppe Genoino to create the monument. The execution of the work was in the hands of Giuseppe di Fiore, assisted by Filippo d’Amato. The latter was himself a Jesuit and, more important, one of the most famous architects in the country.
Previously, on this spot stood a monument in honor of Philip V. It was made in 1705 by Lorenzo Vaccaro to commemorate a royal visit of 1702. However, this statue was destroyed by the population when the Austrians conquered Naples.
Its construction became possible thanks to a collection among the faithful. The design was inspired by the “party machines” in vogue at the time. These macchine were elaborate constructions that were carried around the city on special occasions.
The pedestal is decorated with flowers. The level above is decorated with four pairs of cupids with the symbols of the Immaculate Virgin. On the next level, four Jesuit saints are depicted. “Saint’Ignatius of Loyola” and “Saint Francis Xavier” are both by Matteo Bottiglieri, while Francesco Pagano was responsible for “Saint John Francis Régis” and “Saint Francis Borgia”.
The reliefs separating the saints depict four events in the life of Mary. These are successively “The Message of Mary,” the “Birth of the Virgin,” the “Presentation at the Temple,” and the “Ascension of Mary.”
There are four more cupids, along with statues depicting “Saint’Aloysius Gonzaga” and “Saint Stanislaus Kostk.” on the next level.
The statue at the top of the spire obviously depicts Mary herself.
According to tradition, among the Biblical scenes, the saints and the cupids, some blasphemous references to death could also be seen. However, these are only discernible in a certain light at a special angle.