The Piazza Portanova in Salerno is located right next to the Piazza Flavio Gioia. Together the two squares form the background to the fiars and other cultural events in the city. Before the Porta Nuova was constructed they formed one big square.
Piazza Portanova Salerno
History and description
Although in the course of the centuries the Piazza Portanova has become less central, it is still one of the main focal points of the city. Since it was located directly outside the city walls, goods (and people) entering Salerno had to come through the square.
Until 1754, year of the construction of the Porta Nuova, the current Piazza Flavio Gioia and the Piazza Portanova were one big square. The annual St. Matthew fair was already held here in the times of the Normans. When it was held, storage huts for the merchandise used to be put up all around the area.
St. Matthew is the patron saint of the city. The huge statue on top of the Porta Nuova was placed there in 1756 by the sculptor Francesco Pagano.
The piazza was also where condemned prisoners were killed. The aedicula with the “Madonna delle Grazie” fresco on the right square was where the prisoners could say there last prayers. It dates back to the end of the 17th century.
The San Pietro in Vinculis Church (“St. Peter in Chains”) was the seat of a fraternity giving support to those about to be killed.