Built between the 13th and 14th centuries, the Gothic style San Pietro a Majella Church in Naples stands at the intersection of the Via dei Tribunali and the Piazza Luigi Miraglia. The church stands next to the conservatory of the same name.
San Pietro a Majella Church Naples
Address: Piazza Luigi Miraglia, 392 – 80134 Napoli. Telephone: +39 081 5644411. Opening hours: From 09:00 to 12:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00. Entrance fee: Free of charge.
(Note: Opening times and admission prices may have changed since the time of writing).
History and description
Before the Chiesa di San Pietro a Majella was built, two monasteries dedicated to Sant’Eufemia and Sant’Agata, respectively, occupied the site.
The church is dedicated to “he who for cowardice made the great refusal.” This was a reference to Celestinus V, who had renounced the papacy in 1294 to live a reclusive life on Mount Majella in Abruzzo. When he abdicated, he had held the office for no more than 161 days.
The architect was Pepino da Barletta.
The church has undergone many changes over the centuries. Between the 15th and 16th centuries it was enlarged and in the 17th century a renovation took place. Toward the end of the 19th century, the original medieval facade was restored.
The church has a Latin cross floor plan. It consists of three naves with five chapels on each side. The pointed arches and cross vaults of these chapels are typically Gothic.
The facade of the church is entirely Gothic, and extremely unadorned. The interior, on the other hand, is graced by a number of Baroque elements.
The coffered ceiling dates from the 16th century. The paintings are by Mattia Preti and depict events from the lives of Pope Celestine V and Saint Caterina of Siena.
Madonna del Soccorso
One of the frescoes in the church depicts the Madonna del Soccorso. Before Giovanni d’Austria went to war against the Turks, he prayed in front of the fresco to ask the image for help. The Battle of Lepanto was won, after which the entire army returned to the church to thank the Madonna.
The main altar was crafted by the Ghetti family. They used about 600 pieces of marble for it.
The balustrade was made by Cosimo Fanzago.
The 42-meter-high bell tower dates from the 14th century and consists of three levels. The coats of arms on the facade are those of Pope Celestinus V.
The adjacent conservatory has been housed since 1826 in what was originally the convent belonging to the church.