The (Santa Maria della) Pietà dei Turchini Church is a monumental church in Naples. It is located in the Via Medina and used to have a reputation as the Neapolitan “singers’ factory” in the 17th and 18th centuries. Classical concerts are still often performed in the church.
Pietà dei Turchini Church Naples
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Santa Maria Incoronatella della Pietà dei Turchini – Via Medina 19, Naples. Tel: +39 081 5520457. Opening hours: From 07:15 to 13:45 and from 17:00 to 20:00. Entrance fee: Free.
History and Description
Apart from the church itself, the Pietà dei Turchini complex consists of an orphanage and a conservatory. The addition Turchini to the name refers to the color of the clothing worn by the orphans.
The church was commissioned by the lay brotherhood Congregazione dei Bianchi dell’Oratorio in the 2nd half of the 16th century. At that time it was still called Santa Maria dell’Incoronatella Church.
In the 17th century a considerable extension took place. After this rebuilding, the church consisted of a single nave with five side chapels on either side. The dome, the transept and the apse also date from this time. The transept has two more side chapels.
The facade designed by Bartolomeo Vecchione and the floor created by Donato Massa date from the 18th century.
Thanks to contributions from wealthy benefactors, the church became filled with beautiful works of art. Also on display are several paintings and frescoes by famous Neapolitan artists of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The high altar was created by Giovanni Atticciati.
Carlo Dellifranci was responsible for the balustrade.
The most famous painters represented are Luca Giordano, Paolo De Matteis and Andrea Vaccaro. Giordano painted “The Invention of the Cross,” in the apse. De Matteis was responsible for the “Resurrection,” in the presbytery.
Other painters whose works can be seen in the church include Andrea Molinaro, Filippo Vitale, Giovan Battista Rossi, Belisario Calenzio and Battistello Caracciolo. A highlight is the latter’s “Holy Family” in the third chapel on the right.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, there were four notorious music schools in Naples. These were to later merge into the San Pietro a Majella Conservatory. The Pietà dei Turchini Conservatory had been founded in 1583 by the above mentioned fraternity.
Only parentless children between the ages of seven and fifteen had access to the orphanage. Later, children up to 22 years old were also allowed to stay there. Still later, paying pupils were accepted as well. Some of the latter (Paisiello, Pergolesi and Alessandro Scarlatti) were to become famous composers.