The Santa Maria Egiziaca al Forcella Church in the Corso Umberto I in Naples is also called Santa Maria Egiziaca all’Olmo Church. It is considered one of the city’s most beautiful Baroque churches. The church dates back to the 14th century, but its current appearance is the result of a 17th-century renovation.
Santa Maria Egiziaca a Forcella Church Naples
Address: Corso Umberto I, 208 – Naples. Telephone: +39 081 266055. Opening hours: From 08:00 to 11:30 and 17:30 to 19:30; Sundays and public holidays from 08:00 to 13:00. Entrance fee: Free of charge.
History and description
The Chiesa di Santa Maria Egiziaca a Forcella was commissioned in 1342, by Queen Sancia of Majorca. The reason it was also known as Santa Maria Egiziaca all’Olmo is that there used to be a large elm tree (olmo) in the square in front of the church.
Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the first extensive renovation took place under Gabriele d’Angelo. In 1684, the church was renovated again. This renovation was overseen by Dionisio Lazzari.
After the renovations, the church had an oval floor plan surrounded by a number of baroque-style chapels.
The colorful marble decorations inside the church are the work of Nicola Tagliacozzi Canale and date from the 18th century.
There are no fewer than four organs in the church. The wooden choir is decorated with gilded inlays.
In 1702, Luca Giordano painted the canvases on either side of the main altar. These depict “The Apparition of the Virgin to Santa Egiziaca” and “Santa Egiziaca fleeing to the Desert”. The painting above the main altar, the “Communion of Santa Egiziaca” was painted by Andrea Vaccaro in 1668.
Francesco Solimena was responsible for two paintings in the 3rd chapel on the right. Both the “Madonna with Saints Angelo and Chiara” and “San Gaetano and San Francesco” date from 1696.
Another work by Solimena can be seen in the 3rd chapel on the left. The “Madonna with Saints Agostino and Monica” was painted in 1690. Paolo de Matteis painted the “San Tommaso da Villanova” in the same chapel.
The “Madonna del Rosario”, painted around 1607 in the 2nd chapel on the left, was the work of Fabrizio Santafede.