The Santa Croce Basilica is the most important church in Torre del Greco. It houses a statue of the patron saint of the city. Miraculous events are attributed to this statue and it is at the center of an annual procession.
Santa Croce Basilica Torre del Greco
The address of the Basilica di Santa Croce is p.zza S. Croce,1 (tel. +39 0818812250). Train: Torre del Greco. Bus: 155. Opening hours: Unknown. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
The Santa Croce Basilica was built in the early 16th century and is located in the heart of Torre del Greco. It was necessary to build a new church after the old Santa Maria Maggiore mother church had become too small.
It was built thanks to a donation by the inhabitants of the city. The money had been placed in barrels at the foot of a cross (hence the name of the church). Before the Santa Croce Basilica was built, a chapel, the Santa Maria del Presepe, occupied the spot.
The construction of the bell tower took from 1596 to 1740.
After an the eruption of Vesuvius in 1794 had destroyed a large part of the city, including the church and the bell tower, the Basilica di Santa Croce was rebuilt through the efforts of the then vice-pastor Vincenzo Romano (now beatified). The architect was Vincenzo di Nardo and consecration of the new church took place in 1827.
It is, at the insistence of Romano, twice the size of the original church. During construction, multiple mysterious events took place, including a ship from Libya, unexpectedly bringing wood for the construction of the rafters.
What to see
The facade has two levels and is characterized by six columns and two niches with statues representing “Sant’Elena” and “San Gennaro”, made in 1858 by B. Calì.
In the transept is the Cappella dell’Immacolata, with a precious 17th century statue of the “Beata Vergine Immacolata” that has caused a number of miracles and is carried in a procession through the city once a year.
The painting over the main altar was done by R. Ciappa (1825)
In the Cappella all’Addolarata are inscriptions with all the names of the inhabitants of Torre del Greco who died in World War II.
The bronze urn containing the ashes of Vincenzo Romano was made by Antonio Menella in 1963 and is located near the Altar of the Sacred Heart in the transept.
Also in the transept is the Altar of San Gennaro, under which is an urn containing the relics of San Colomba Martire.
Next to the sacristy is a small museum with gold objects belonging to the basilica itself or taken from other churches in Torre del Greco.
The neo-classical crater-shaped baptismal font was made by Giuseppe D’Amato.
Once a year, on December 8, the Madonna Immacolata is carried in a procession through the city. This tradition began in 1862, after the Madonna had ensured that an eruption of Mount Vesuvius was interrupted.