The Santa Maria della Piazza Church is one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Ancona. Especially its facade is of great beauty. It has been known by various names over the centuries. Under Napoleon, the church first served as a stable, and later as a mint.
Santa Maria della Piazza Church Ancona
Address: Piazza Santa Maria – Ancona. Phone: +39 320 8773610. Opening hours: From 10:00 till 12:00 and from 16:00 till 18:00.
History and description
Santa Maria della Piazza Church was built on the ruins of an early Christian church dedicated to Santo Stefano. This church had probably in turn been built on top of a pagan chapel dedicated to a sea god.
The original name of the church, which was probably built in the 10th century, was Santa Maria del Canneto. A century later it was known as Santa Maria del Mercato, due to the presence of a market in the square in front of the church. In those days, it also served as a courtroom.
Despite many renovations, the interior and facade have hardly changed.
In 1495, the wooden parts of the church were destroyed by fire.
In 1690, the entire church was severely damaged in an earthquake. The bell tower had to be completely rebuilt.
In 1780, after a collapse, yet another reconstruction took place.
During the Napoleonic era, the church was used first as a stable and later as an ammunition house. In 1806 it was again used as a church, under the name of San Rocco e Maria. In 1916 and in 1975 new restorations took place and nowadays it is often used for concerts.
What to see
The facade was designed by Filippo Lombardo and dates back to 1210. It is characterized by rows of small arches. It also shows a symbol of a medieval corporation of sculptors, which was associated with the Order of the Knights Templar.
The entrance dates from 1297 and was crafted by Magister Philippus and shows symbols of abundance and fertility, interspersed with scenes of war.
The interior has three naves, separated by columns.
At the entrance, faint images of frescoes depicting the lives of various saints can still be seen.
The wooden crucifix in the apse dates from the 16th century.