The Santa Maria Donnalbina Church in Naples is incorporated in the Don Orione Institute. This church is best known for its Baroque art, with paintings by Nicola Malinconico and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. Its main attractions is the enormous altar in the apse.
Santa Maria Donnalbina Church Naples
History and description
The Chiesa di Santa Maria Donnalbina was founded in the 9th century. The 16th century saw a reconstruction by Bartolomeo Picchiatti. Arcangelo Guglielmelli oversaw a later renovation.
The first religious order running the church were the Basilian nuns. In the course of the centuries they were replaced by other orders and at the moment the church is property of the Congregation of Don Orione.
Don Luigi Orione (1872-1940) was an Italian priest who, in the early 20th century, had founded a group that called itself the “Little Work of Divine Providence”. In 1903, the group became an official congregation under the name “Sons of Divine Providence”. The aim of the congregation was to assist physically as well as mentally handicapped people.
The church is named after Donna Albina, one of three sisters who all fell in love with the same man. Since neither could have him, they forgot all about love and went religious. The two sisters also have churches named after them, namely Santa Maria Donnaromita and Donnaregina Vecchia.
What to see
The gilded wooden ceiling is the work of Antonio Guidetti. The three large paintings were added by Nicola Malinconico in 1701.
Malinconico was also responisble for the paintings depicting “Saints of the Benedictine Order” between the windows and for the “Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem” fresco on the inside of the facade.
The altar in the apse was made in 1692. The wooden “Immaculate Conception” statue was added in the 18th century.
The second chapel on the right contains two paintings depicting saints by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.
On the left side of the entrance is the funeral monument to the musician Giovanni Paisiello. It was sculpted by Angelo Viva in 1816.
Address: Vico Portapiccola Donnalbina, 6 – 80134 Napoli. Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays from 19:30 till 23:00; Saturdays from 11:00 till 16:00 and from 17:00 till 23:00; Sundays: From 12:00 till 23:00. Admission: Free. Phone: +39 081 5574111.