Churches of Campania

Amalfi Capri Pompei Positano PraianoRavello • Sorrento


Basilica di San Antonino – Sorrento
This basilica was dedicated to Saint Anthony, patron saint of navigators.   It was built with a typical basilica structure, a nave and two aisles, around the year 1000, and in c.1300 it became the home of the "Confraternita dei Battenti", an heretical confraternity originating from Naples.  It was splendidly restored in the 17th century by the Theatine Fathers. and was then restored and rebuilt between the 18th and the 19th centuries. 


Basilica di San Antonio

The structure preserves; paintings from the 1600's, fragments of an ancient majolica tiled floor and a remarkable example of a neapolitan nativity scene made in the 1700's, which was a tribute to the students of the Sammartino School with statues that were dressed up with clothes fashioned with precious fabrics and enriched with precious laces.

In a crypt below is located  Saint Antonino’ s grave.  He was born in Campagna, a town near Salerno, came to Sorrento after a period in which he lived between Castellammare di Stabia and Monte Faito, and died here on 15 February, 471.   Among the miracles which were attributed to him, it’s important to remember, when he saved a child who was swallowed by a whale.  This fact explains the presence of two cetacean bones in the hall of the basilica.  There was a deep bond between the Saint and the sea and its inhabitants, as the collection of ex votos given to the church by the sailors who escaped shipwrecks shows.


The Duomo di Sorrento was built in the XVth century but was redone several times.

 The current façade is the result of restoration work in 1924.

Sorrento Cathedral
The Cathedral of Sorrento, doesn't lack in examples of local art, famous in all of Italy, inlaid woodwork and some marvelous frescoes by Neapolitan painters. This town's overlooks the street Corso Italia and its adorned with furnishings realized using ancient techniques of inlaid work. It was built at the beginning of the 15th century with a romantic style and later it was restored several times until the restoration of 1924 when the front was entirely rebuilt. The church, in addition to the baptistery where Torquato Tasso was baptized (maybe the most famous citizen of the town), contains a great number of paintings of the Neapolitan School of the 18th century and is characterized also it's grand bell towerwhich is the home to an ancient ceramic clock.

The Saint Francis Cloisters have been restored on numerous occasions over the centuries and hence display a distinctive array of architectural styles that range from late gothic to renaissance, while the refectory retains its original fourteenth century structure.

Correale di Terranova Museum – Sorrento
In this fascinating museum you can find paintings by 18th century artists, inlaid furniture, Capodimonte majolica and porcelain ware, lacework The palazzo which houses the museum is surrounded by green and looks out over the Gulf of Naples.

Sedil Dominova

Sedil Dominova – Sorrento
A unique testimony to the ancient "sedile", which was the building in which the city fathers gathered to make laws and decide on economic and administrative matters. The monument has undergone several works of embellishment carried out throughout the years. The pillars and polystyle arches in "Piperno" lava are in medieval style.  Frescoes of perspective architecture decorates the interior walls, the dominating gates along with the marble balustrade, all dating back to the 17th century.  A magnificent majolica-tiled dome of the 16th century, covers the arcaded loggia of the Sedil Dominova.

The inner small lounge preserved the marble inscriptions that now are at the museum Correale di Terranova in Sorrento. In the area opposite Sedile Dominova once stayed a small fountain. From this fountain, the square was given it's name, “ Schizzariello,” which means a 'little squirt (of water)'.

Chiesa dell'Addolorata decorated with a magnificent painted brick floor


Church of the Addolorata also known as Church of the Vergine dei Sette Dolori of Sorrento.
Though lying right in the old town centre – along Via San Cesareo, a stone’s throw from Sedil Dominova of Sorrento – it is one of the “youngest” churches of Sorrento.  Its inauguration, in fact, goes back to 1739.

The Sorrento holy building was constructed according to the Sorrento patricians’ express will. This is a particularity which got the Church of the Addolorata itself to be considered, for a long time, the Sorrento nobles’ church. 


Beautiful example of Baroque, the religious building is rich in stuccos.  Its entrance portal is made in grey tuff (typical stone of the Sorrento Coast).   The plan of the Church, instead, is in Greek cross, whilst its floor is paved with 18th century red bricks.  Inside it, on the high altar, it is possible to admire a statue of the Madonna Addolorata (of the 18th century, too).   In order to furnish it, the nobles decided to apply to one of the most famous painters of the time: Carlo Amalfi.

Carlo Amalfi, himself, in fact, though born in the Sorrento Coast, was particularly appreciated in Naples which – at that time – was the capital of the Reign of the Two Sicilies.

Among his works, in fact, there are also the ones which adorned the Hall of the Great Council of the Law Court inside Castel Capuano, besides a series of frescos in which King Charles of Bourbon riding a horse and the earliest legislators of the Reign are depicted.
Among the many important people who applied to Carlo Amalfi to make their portraits paint, moreover, there are the Sorrento Cardinal Antonio Sersale and Prince Raimondo di Sangro (who was also known as Prince Raimondo di Sansevero).


Thanks to his cooperation with the prince - famous for his alchemy studies – the painter learned to use water-oil colours which were used, among other things, for the paintings of the famous Temple of Pietà in Naples (belonging to the di Sangro family) and in particular for Prince Raimondo’ s portrait.

For the two side chapels of the Church of the Addolorata of Sorrento, instead, the artist made two big paintings. On one of them he depicted the Holy Family, whilst on the other he represented the Holy Trinity in Glory.



San Francis


Convento di San Francesco (Saint Francis’ Convent). Saint Francis’s convent is made up of three structures: the church, the convent, and the very famous cloister. The church itself is much older: originally it was an ancient oratory founded by Saint Antonino, the Patron Saint of Sorrento, who dedicated the church to St. Martin of Tours In the 14th Century, Franciscan Friars transformed it into a church, which was later reconstructed in the baroque style and embellished with stucco decorations, but with a front in white marble that was built in 1926.


The main wood door preserves important works representing Saint Francis with the crucifix. Another statue of the saint, in bronze, in a modern style, realized in 1922 by the sculptor Alfiero Nena, is visible in the square opposite the church.



"Laudato sie, mie Signore, cun tutte le tue creature" - San Francesco

1182 Assisi 1226

(written at the bottom of the staute)



Next to the church there’s the splendid cloister of the 14th century that was founded in the 7th century and which today is still inhabited by Franciscan friars. The cloister is a marvelous atmospheric mix of many architectural styles, from the pagan era to the Middle Ages, and is a delightfully peaceful place to visit.   The building has a rich variety of architectural styles melted together to form one work, an ideal setting for art exhibitions, festivals, musical evenings are also sometimes held there.


San Francis with its splendid cloister




Santa Maria Assunta - Positano

The church of Santa Maria Assunta is the most recognizable landmark in Positano located right in the center of Positano, in the small Flavio Gioia square. the church has a decorative dome, brightly-colored, constructed of Vietri majolica, that really stands out, built in a moorish style and is a typical example of the architecture found in this area.

It is really worth while visiting inside to see the remarkable detail of the church's interior. An interesting piece is a rare 13th century Byzantine Black Madonna.

The church is divided into three "navate" which are decorated with stucco, and gold ornamentation. Inside the church there is a collection of important works of art, like the "Circoncisione" by Fabrizio Santafede (from the end of '600), and...

Cathedral's alter

Maddonna di Positano

the famous Bizantine wooden panel, depicting the Virgin Mary and Her Child.  The town's name Positano (which means "put it there" in latin), derives from the story of this panel.   The ancient legend tells that the icon was stolen by the Saraceni (pirates of the time), but when the pirates tried to leave Positano's shores with the panel, a terrible sea storm suddenly arose, and prevented their passage.   During the storm, the pirates heard a cry from heaven saying: "posa, posa" (put it back). The fearful pirates set the decorated panel back on Positano's shores, and miraculously, the storm ceased giving them the opportunity to flee the Coast.




Praiano's ancient name (Pelagium) means "open sea", infact in this fishermen town the view on the sea and on Positano and its surroundings is spectacular. This town started developing in the XII century and then specialized in production of the "filo torto", linnen, coral and anchevies.  Praiano is surely one of the most genuine corners of the Amalfi Coast, away from the most touristy areas and rich with history, culture, views and comforts.


The main two churches were built after Lepanto battle at the end of the 16th century:


San Gennaro

Saint Gennaro situated in Vettica Maggiore near La Statale and visible from the sea, St. Gennaro church is an often photographed landmark of Praiano. Of ancient foundation, it was restored in 1602. It presents three naves with transept dominated by an oval cupola, covered by multicolored tiles. The belfry has a high octagonal coping finished with a little majolica cupola. Inside one will admire the Assumptions of 1696 and St. Bartolomeo’s martyrdom, by Giovan Bernardo Lama and the Holy Family of the end of XVIth century. 

Image of San Luca in maiolica

San Luca

Church of Saint Luca the Evangelist, located in “Praiano Alto”, the Patron of Praiano, was built in elegant baroque style in 1588 on an existing structure dating back to 1123, then consequently restored in 1772.  Beside the façade, which has been recently restored, there is the bell tower which is made up of three levels.  

Inside, the church is divided into three naves with six altars on each side. The central nave is covered by a barrel vault and the sides by cross vaults. The majolica tiled dome makes this church unique as it is uncommon on the Amalfi coast.

The floor inside the church is also done in this unique style which dates back to 1789 and depicts St. Luca surrounded by flowers and birds. From the rich patrimony there is the precious silver bust of the Saint kept in the sacristy and also two beautiful paintings, one dating back to the second half of the fifteenth century painted by Giovanni Bernardo Lama which represents the circumcision; the second one was painted by Padovano De Martino dating back to 1582 and it represents Our Lady of the Rosary




Duomo - San Andrea with the elaborate bell tower

Amalfi - The Cathedral of St. Andrew, (Duomo di Sant'Andrea) is a highly unique cathedral full of interesting sights.  Built in the early 1200s, the cathedral features a dramatic location atop a steep flight of stairs, an Arab-influenced exterior, and the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle in its crypt.  Connected to the cathedral is an older basilica (now a small museum) and the fascinating Cloister of Paradise, both containing medieval murals.

Amalfi Cathedral looms impressively over the small Piazza Duomo from atop 62 broad stairs. Its facade, an 1800s approximation of the original, is an Arab-Sicilian riot of stripes, arches and mosaics. The bell tower on the left has a highly elaborate top, comprised of a central cupola surrounded by four turrets at the corners, all decorated with green and yellow tiles.

The cathedral's central portal features a fine set of medieval bronze doors, the first to appear in Italy.  Commisioned by a wealthy merchant of Amalfi, they were cast in Constantinople around 1060 by Simeon of Syria (he signed his work). Remains of silver inlays depicting Christ, Mary, and various saints can still be seen. The bronze doors are framed by a Romanesque portal, carved with vines inhabited by mythical beasts.

 San Andrea above the main door

Detail of the the bronze door


The interior of Amalfi Cathedral is sumptuously Baroque but the underlying architecture is Romanesque. The triumphal arch in the apse is supported by two ancient columns from Paestum. The paintings on the walls and ceilings (by Andrea D'Asta and Castellano in the 18th century) depict the life and miracles of St. Andrew.

The high altar is made from the sarcophagus of Archbishop Pietro Capuano (d.1359), which is decorated with fine bas-reliefs of the Twelve Apostles with St. Basil, St. Nicholas, Jesus and the Virgin Mary.  Niches in the right aisle display a large reliquary bust of St. Andrew (16th century) and the Coffin of the Dead Christ, which is carried in solemn procession through Amalfi on Good Friday.

To the right of the altar area is the Chapel of the Relics (a.k.a. Chapel of the Reconciliation), in which are displayed dozens of reliquaries.  Some contain relics brought to Amalfi at the same time as those of St. Andrew.   Stairs off the right aisle lead down to the crypt, but it cannot normally be accessed this way - one must go around through the cloister.


 Some of the interesting treasures found in the cathedral museum

 Crypt  with St Andrew in the center altar


The Cloister of Paradise, entered at the left side of the cathedral's portico, is one of the highlights of Amalfi Cathedral.  Built between 1266-68 to house the tombs of Amalfi's wealthy merchants, it features slender double columns and Moorish-style arcades made of pure white marble. In the center is a Mediterranean garden; the surrounding walkways are full of notable historic art.

The left walkway has some fine Cosmatesque fragments along with two 2nd-century AD sacrophagi depicting scenes from Greek myth (the Rape of Proserpine and the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis, respectively).  Niches in the right-hand walking have damaged frescoes from the 14th century, including a Crucifixion by Roberto d'Orderisio of the Giotto school.

The cloister leads into the Basilica of the Crucifix, dating from the 9th century and containing more frescoes. The basilica now houses the cathedral's museum and treasury.  Stairs near the east end descend into the Crypt of St. Andrew, where the saint's relics are kept in the central altar.  The crypt is decorated with beautiful Baroque murals from 1660. The large bronze statue of St. Andrew (1604) was sculpted by Michelangelo Naccherino of Florence, a student of Michelangelo. The marble statues of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen (deacons of the Eastern and Western Church) were sculpted by Pietro Bernini, father of the more famous Gianlorenzo Bernini.


Cloister - slender double marble columns and Moorish-style arcades





  Ravello's cathedral

The Duomo of Ravello

The city's Cathedral, dedicated to the the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, was erected in the 11th century, in a Latin cross shape with three apsed naves, which is also the city's heart, was built in 1087 on the central piazza del Vescovado, by the wishes of Nicolò Rufolo, and was consecrated by Orso Papice, the first bishop of Ravello.

The facade has three ancient marble portal: the central one is closed by the famous bronze door created in 1179 by Barisano da Trani. In all of Italy there are, perhaps, only about two dozen bronze doors and the one on the Cathedral of Ravello is one of the most important: 54 rectangular panels decorate the door with figures sculpted in relief; one of them holds the name of the donor, the Ravellian nobleman Sergio Muscettola, and of his family.

On the right side of the Cathedral rises the 13th century bell-tower.


Besides the cathedral, there are many other churches, including the 10th century church of San Giovanni del Toro (Saint John of the Bull) dating to before the year 1000.





  St Stefano

Ex Cathedral of St Stefano -
At the top of the flight of steps in the Piazzetta di Capri one finds the ex Cathedral of St Stefano, built between 1688 and 1695, on the site of a Benedictine convent. The exterior is characterized by domes and extradoss vaults. The interior has marble paving, retrieved from the Roman villas on the island of Capri, including that if Villa Jovis.

The third chapel on the left, the Sacro Cuore, houses relics of various saints.  Along the corridor of the sacristy one can observe the statue of St Costanzo, patron saint of Capri.


  San Michele with the beautiful majolica tile floor


Church of St Michele Arcangelo - Anacapri
The Church of St Michele Arcangelo is situated in Piazza San Nicola in Anacapri.     Built in 1719 the church was probably designed by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro and was part of a convent later demolished.


The church designed around a central lay-out with a cupola and a surrounding octagonal floor-plan that fans out into six radial niches with apses preserves baroque altars in painted wood and a choir also in wood over the vestibule at the entrance.

Inside is an extraordinary tiled pavement created in 1761 in Naples a design attributed to Francesco Solimena, it depicted the biblical episode of Adam and Eve being banished from the Earthly Paradise, and executed by the master  Leonardo Chiaieses, tilemaker from the Abruzzo region.  This stunning floor painting depicts Adam and Eve in the earthly paradise, immersed in a surreal landscape, featuring imaginary and mythological animal forms such as the Unicorn.


The lateral altars containing paintings by Nicola Malinconico, De Matteis and del Po are also considered to be of great artistic importance.



  Santa Sofia

Church of Santa Sofia -
The Church of Santa Sofia was erected in 1510, substituting the previous parish church of St Maria of Constantinople.  It lies in what is now the center of Anacapri, where the population started to gather following its construction. Judging from the varied appearance of the whole as well as the lack of symmetry among the three cupolas there would seem to have been no overall blue-print.  The sacristy and the oratory were obtained from the previous Church of St Carlo, the interior is covered with a barrel vaulted ceiling and has two side chapels which were added to the building at the end of the 17th century.


Worthy of note on a minor altar inside the church is a wooden sculpture from the 15th-century Neapolitan school that depicts the Virgin with the dead Christ.

The two bell towers and presbytery were completed in 1878.







  Santuario della Beata Vergine del Rosario - Pompei

  The magnificient ceiling and  the huge cupola of the sanctuary


Il Santuario della Beata Vergine del Rosario - Pompei

(The Sanctuary of the Blessed Vergine of the Rosary)

The Shrine was built during two different times. The original temple, with the form of a Latin cross with one nave, was erected between 1876 and 1891 on a project of Professor Antonio Cua of the University of Naples and measured 420sq.m.   To welcome the very numerous faithful, the Shrine was enlarged between 1934 and 1939, passing from one nave to three aisles and maintaining the structure of a Latin cross.


The project was conceived by the architect and priest Monsignor Spirito Maria Chiapetta who also directed the works.  The two aisles which have three altars in every side, extend up in the back of the apse in an ambulatory enriched with four semicircular small chapels. The whole of constructions is harmonised by contrasting structures, in a perfect balance of masses, just studied so that they would not undergo the effects of a displacement due to any cause. The internal area, measuring 2,000 sq.m., can receive around 6,000 faithful. The cubic capacity is of 40,000 meters.


  The bell tower

Latin cross with one nave



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