The Santa Maria di Caravaggio Church is located on the north side of the Piazza Dante in Naples. Perhaps surprisingly, it is not dedicated to the painter, but to Saint Mary of Caravaggio, a small town in northern Italy, where the Virgin is said to have made a miraculous appearance. Built in 1627, thanks to a donation from Felice Pignella, it was originally called Natività di Maria Church.
Santa Maria di Caravaggio Church Naples
The Chiesa di Santa Maria di Caravaggio was not built until 1627, although the miraculous apparition of Mary had taken place long before that, in 1432. Caravaggio, where this happened, is a small town in the province of Bergamo.
Immediately after its construction, the Order of the Scolopi (called “Piarists’ in English) took control of the church. When this order moved to the San Carlo all’Arena Church, the church came into the hands of the Order of the Barnabites.
In 1724, a restoration took place under Giovan Battista Nauclerio. At the same time, the attached convent was converted into a school.
In 1873, this school became property of the “Prince of Naples” (Principe di Napoli) Institute founded by Domenico Martuscelli. At this school, blind people from all over the country were taught. The monument in front of the school is dedicated to Martuscelli.
In 1971, it became the seat of a municipal office, while the church is used as an annex to the San Pietro a Majello Conservatory.
The church consists of a single nave and has an elliptical floor plan with three chapels on either side.
The painting above the main altar is a “Nativity of Mary” by Gaetano Gigante from 1806.
In the left chapels are a “Sant’Antonio Zaccharia” by Luigi Scorrano from 1890 and an “Appearance of the Virgin to the Peasant Woman by Caravaggio.” Also located here are the tomb of San Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi and a statue depicting the “Madonna Addolorata.”
In the chapels on the right, you can see a “Madonna of Providence” by Francesco Solimena and a “Descent from the Cross” by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.
In the crypt are the mortal remains of the family of San Giuseppe Calasanzio, the founder of the Order of the Scolopi.
Opening hours and tickets
Opening hours: From 10:30 till 18:00 (Sundays and public holidays from 09:00 till 12:00. Tickets: Admission is free.
Address and public transportation
Public transportation: Metro: Dante.