The Santa Maria della Catena Church in Naples was founded in 1576 by local fishermen. The church is dedicated to “Our Lady of the Chain”. The cult of this saint had arrived in Naples from Sicily. The main attraction is the tomb of Admiral Francesco Caracciolo.
Santa Maria della Catena Church Naples
History and description
The Chiesa di Santa Maria della Catena was founded in 1576 by fishermen in what was then the Borgo Santa Lucia.
The cult of Santa Maria della Catena dates back to 1390. Three innocent people condemned to death in Palermo saw their execution postponed due to heavy rain. The Madonna took advantage of this postponement to break the men’s chains. She is still revered as protector of prisoners and slaves. The miracle took place at the Palermitan Santa Maria del Porto Church, which was later renamed Santa Maria della Catena.
The church’s consecration took place in 1579.
Carmelo Passero was responsible for a major renovation in the 18th century.
In 1881 the church received a new neoclassical facelift. However, the changes made to the facade were reversed in the early 21st century.
What to see
1799 was an important year in Naples’ history. That year saw an uprising against King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. The resulting Republic of Naples existed only briefly, from 21 January to 13 June. One of the Republic’s most heroic defenders was Admiral Francesco Caracciolo. After the fall of the short-lived republic, he was hanged from the mast of a ship and thrown into the sea, against military custom. However, Neapolitan fishermen pulled his corpse out of the water to bury him in the church’s crypt. Later, his tomb was moved to the left transept. (The beautiful promenade along the Naples coast was later dedicated to the Admiral).
The tomb of Juseppe de Ribera, better known as Spagnoletto, is also located in the church.
Address: Via Santa Lucia, 102 – 80132 Naples. Telephone: +39 081 7640324.