The Santa Maria dell’Incoronata Church is located near the Castel Nuovo in Naples. The church was built during the reign of the House of Anjou. The then ruler Charles II had ordered a series of public and private buildings to be erected around the Royal Palace. Since the church is below the current street level, it is rather easy to overlook it.
Santa Maria Incoronata Church Naples
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Via Medina, 54, 80133 Naples. Tel: (+081) 552 0457. Metro: Toledo. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday until 2:30 pm; closed on Sunday. Admission to the church is free
The Santa Maria Incoronata Church itself was commissioned by Jeanne I of Anjou in 1352. This was done on the site where under Robert of Anjou the Royal Court was. The nave and portico still date from this time, while the smaller nave is the result of a rebuilding.
The church has also been known as Santa Maria Spina Corona and Santa Maria Coronata.
To give the church more prestige, Jeanne d’Ajou had a thorn from the crown of Christ preserved there. This relic, previously kept in the Saint-Chappelle in Paris, had been given to her by the French King Charles V. Believers went to the church on Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost to worship the holy thorn, which has since been lost.
In 1378, the church came into the hands of the Carthusian monks of San Martino. During the reigns of the houses of Anjou and Aragon, it was used for coronations and other official events.
The church is lower than the current street level. This is due to work on the Maschio Angioino (or Castel Nuovo) castle in the 16th century.
A major restoration has allowed the church to be seen in its fresher form. In the process, a number of houses built against it had to be removed.
The white marble entrance gate dates from the 14th century. It is decorated with an engraving of a “Crown of Thorns” supported by two angels.
The interior consists of a large and a smaller nave. The former ends in a polygonal apse. The rectangular apse of the second nave is occupied by the Chapel of the Crucifix (Cappella del Crocifisso).
The high altar dates from the 18th century.
Roberto d’Oderisio frescoes
Roberto d’Oderisio was responsible for some of the frescoes in the church. At some point, these have been moved from their original position, to be affixed elsewhere inside the church.
The paintings mainly have events from the lives of members of the house of Anjou as their theme. The artist was a follower of Giotto.