Santa Caterina a Formiello

Naples, Italy

Santa Caterina a Formiello is located at the extreme eastern end of the old historic center of the city, on Via Carbonara and Piazza Enrico de Nicola. Construction of the church began about 1510, designed by the Florentine Antonio della Cava, and completed in 1593. The church was one of the first domes in Naples, and was dedicated to the virgin and martyred Saint of Alexandria. It was attached to an ancient convent originally linked to the Celestine order and which passed to the Dominican fathers after 1498. The convent hosted Dominicans until the 19th century, when it was expropriated, and ultimately became used as a wool factory.

The church has a single-aisle Latin cross interior covered by a barrel vault with five chapels on either side. The Roman Mannerist painter, Luigi Garzi, painted the large picture on the counterfacade. He also painted the triangles above the arches of the chapels, the corbels of the dome, and the great vault of the nave. The dome was painted by Paolo de Matteis. The ceilings of the chapels have frescoes by Guglielmo Borremans.

The main altar was commissioned by the Spinelli family of Cariati, to whom also belong the tombs that encircle it. The funereal monuments were completed by Scilla and Giannotto, two Milanese sculptors. On the wall, beside the altar is a Virgin with St Thomas Acquinas by Francesco Curia. A chapel on the other side has a canvas of St Dominic defeats the Albigensian Heretics by Giacomo del Po.

In the first chapel, all the paintings dedicated to St Catherine of Alessandria are by Giacomo del Po, the Visitation was painted by Garzi. In the next chapel, the chapel of St James, are collected the remains of 240 Martyrs of Otranto, that Alfonso II of Aragon had moved to Naples in 1574. The canvas of the Epiphany was painted by Silvestro Buono, and the Circumcision was completed by Paolo de Matteis. The Conversion of St. Paul was painted by Marco da Siena. The St Vincenzo Ferreri was painted by Santolo Cirillo.

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Founded: 1510
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

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