The San Michele Arcangelo al Colle Church in Torre del Greco already existed in the 15th century. The Colle di Sant’Alfonso hill on which it is built is of volcanic origin. Many archaeological artifacts dating back to Roman times have been found on this hill. Having been secularized at the beginning of the 19th century, the church and monastery have been in the hands of a religious brotherhood since 1954.
San Michele al Colle Church Torre del Greco
The address of the San Michele al Colle Church is Via di Sotto ai Camaldoli, 62 – 80040 Torre Del Greco (tel. +39 0818832180 – cell. +39 3489844818). Train: Via dei Monaci. Opening hours: From 09.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00. Opening hours Sundays and holidays: From 10.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 (summer time 17.00) to 18.00 (summer time 19.00) hours. Entrance fee: Free of charge.
History and description
The San Michele Arcangelo Church is situated on a hill of volcanic origin at a site where many archaeological artifacts from Roman times have been found. Before the hill was named Monte Sant’Angelo (in the 5th century), it was called Pandiera, a word of Greek origin meaning “all things holy.”
The first version of the San Michele Arcangelo Church existed in the spot as early as the 15th century. Next to the church was a house where hermits used to live.
After the Camaldolesi Order settled on the hill in 1577, it was named Collina dei Camaldoli. In 1741 the old church was demolished and the current one built. An inn, a library, a nursing home and a refectory had already been added in 1714.
Between 1807, when a new law banned monastic orders, and 1826, after the Bourbons returned to Naples, the Camaldolesi had to leave their monastery. In 1867 it was permanently closed and put up for sale.
Since then the monastery has had several owners, including a Russian baron with the wonderful name of Carlo Pontus de Knorring, who, however, squandered the entire library of the friary order.
In World War II, anti-aircraft artillery was stationed on the hill, which made it a target for bombings. The monastery, now owned by a German baroness with another beautiful name, Maria Ursula von Stohrer, was badly damaged.
In 1954, the baroness sold it to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (or Redemptorists) of Saint Alfonso. The hill itself was then renamed Colle di Sant’Alfonso.
What to see
The coats of arms above the gate are those of the Order of the Camaldolesi and of Pope Gregory XVI.
Most of the paintings in the church date from the 18th century.
The paintings in the sacristy were done in 1764 by F. Palumbo.
The statue representing San Michele dates from 1740. After the monastic order was banned it was placedin the Santa Croce Basilica, but since 1991 it has been back in its original spot.