The San Filippo Neri church was commissioned late in life by Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy, and completed after his death in 1675 with the patronage of his widow Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy-Nemours. The original design was by Antonio Bettini, however, the roof of this original church collapsed in 1706 during the fierce Siege of Turin by French forces.
The church was rebuilt (1715-1730) according to designs by Filippo Juvarra. The main altar (1703) was designed by Antonio Bertola with six Solomonic columns surmounted by statues of Faith Hope and Charity by Carlo Francesco Plura. The altarpiece was painted by Carlo Maratta, and the tribune and choir framed with putti sculpted by Stefano Maria Clemente [it]. One church chapel has a canvas of Beato Valfrè by Ferdinando Cavalleri. The sacristy was frescoed by Luigi Vacca. The adjacent oratory (to the right of the facade) was designed by Bettini. The painting of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin was painted by Sebastiano Conca with frescoes by Gaetano Perego.
The imposing Neoclassic pronaos (1823) of the facade, designed by Giuseppe Maria Talucchi has four monumental columns, flanking advanced wings with pilasters, and triangular tympanum. The sober linearity clashes with the decorative interior with its playful, shell-shaped Juvarrian window frames. The six chapels have elliptical domes. Juvarra designed the polychrome marble pavement of the presbytery. Along the nave are medallion bas-reliefs by Giovanni Battista Bernero.
The oratory, located to the right of the facade, is mainly used for concerts and theatrical performances. On the outer (street-side) pilaster of the oratory facade, nearly three-quarters towards the top, is a cannonball embedded in the wall during the French siege of Turin in 1799. The oratory was designed by Antonio Bettini, although likely inspired by a prior design by Jurvarra. To the left of the oratory is the baptistry which houses a marble medallion of the Baptism of Christ. The oratory is rich in paintings. The main altar is a St Phillip with an Immaculate Conception by Sebastiano Conca. On the walls are four canvases depicting episodes in the Life of Mary, completed by Conca, his brother, and their studio. The ceiling fresco, depicting the Coronation of Mary, is attributed to Gaetano Perego.
For special feasts, such as Christmas, Pentecost, and the anniversary of the consecration of the church, an altar plate (paliotto) is displayed, made of mother of pearl, ivory, tortoise shell, and hard-wood. It was donated by the artist, Pietro Piffetti (1700-1777), to celebrate the first century of the congregation.
Between Christmas and Epiphany, the entrance to the church is decorated with a presepe consisting of 30 life-sized mannequins, dressed in period costume, sculpted by Anton Maria Maragliano (1664-1739).References:
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.