Visit Church of Santa Caterina a Formiello – Naples

The first information about Santa Caterina a Formello, dating back to the 15thcentury, are related to a little church belonging to little Celestine Order, situated outside the extention started by the Aragonese rulers in 1487. The name Formello derives from the presence in that area of  formali, the ancient city aqueducts. The church ‘came to the forefront’ when the heir to:’41,1/,7- throne, Alphonse duke of Calabria, bought it and transfeir there the nuns of the Maddalena, a convent choseh by the duke as dwelling house for his court, since it rose next to his famous villa of delights, known as Duchesca. After Alphonse died (1495) the nuns went back to their convent and in 1498 Santa Caterina was assigned from the new king Frederick to the Lombard reformed Dominicans who followed the strict rules dictated by blessed Raimondo da Capua. It was then that the relics of the 240 Otranto’s martyrs, massacred by the Turks in 1480, were transferred to Santa Caterina. The new church was built starting from 1514 probably based on a project by Antonio Marchese da Settignano, since the authorship is still today a vexed question.

Undoubtely the building was endowed with the formal elegant elements typical of the tuscan Renaissance architecture, thereby creating a pleasant harmonious ensamble with the neighbouring Porta Capuana, designed by Giuliano da Majano. The building phases lasted long: in 1519 started the elegant and slender dome’s construction, the first to be erected in the city; the works’ direction was handed over to Romolo Balsimelli and probably during the 16th century the project underwent several modifications, also following the new rules dictated by the Counterreformation. In 1577 the church was finished and its elegant and austere forms resulted to be in keeping with the Lombard dominican order; in the meanwhile the families who had the chapels’ patronage provided for decoration. • Even though the works had been commissioned by various clients, the Dominicans elaborated a unitary iconographical project whose main subject was the fighting against heresies; the two saints, Catherine of Alexandria to whom the church is entitled and Catherine of Siena, the famous dominican • saint, are part of it and the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom: the hooked wheel and the sword, along with the Dominicans’: a dog with a torch in his mouth, are represented almost everywhere. Between 1655 and 1659 the portal’s decoration was executed according to the project by the royal architect Francesco Antonio Picchiatti. At the end of the 17th century the severe dominicans, seduced by the Baroque’s levity, ordered further construction works. In 1677 the floor was reconstructed and the side-chapels’ gates showing the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom were carried out. In 1695 the skilled roman painter Luigi Garzi gave the church a new look covering pilasters and vaults with a simple decoration and painting two scenes depicting St. Catherine of Alexandria in glory contemplated by St. Catherine of Siena in the vault and St. Catherine’s martyrdom in the counterfacade, dated 1698. Santa Caterina a Formello became one of the most beautiful dominican complex in Italy; in 1613 it was provided with both an important drugstore, a refined library as well as a famous collection of very rare nature’s objects. The Dominicans remained here until 1806 when, following the French suppressions, they were compelled to leave the complex which, in 1825, was turned into an important industry of wool production.x The first infrimiation about Santa Caterina a Formello, dating back to the 15thcentury, are related to a little church belonging to ttle Celestine Order, situated outside the extention started by the Aragonese rulers in 1487. Thai; name Formello derives from the presence in that area of;. formali, the ancient city aqueducts. The church ‘came to the forefront’ when the heir to:’41,1/,7- throne, Alphonse duke of Calabria, bought it and transfeirf there the rowdy nuns of the Maddalena, a convent choseh by the duke as dwelling house for his court, since it rose next to his famous villa of delights, known as Duchesca. After Alphonse died (1495) the nuns went back to their convent and in 1498 Santa Caterina was assigned from the new king Frederick to the Lombard reformed Dominicans who followed the strict rules dictated by blessed Raimondo da Capua. It was then that the relics of the 240 Otranto’s martyrs, massacred by the Turks in 1480, were transferred to Santa Caterina. The new church was built starting from 1514 probably based on a project by Antonio Marchese da Settignano, since the authorship is still today a vexed question. Undoubtely the building was endowed with the formal elegant elements typical of the tuscan Renaissance architecture, thereby creating a pleasant harmonious ensamble with the neighbouring Porta Capuana, designed by Giuliano da Majano. The building phases lasted long: in 1519 started the elegant and slender dome’s construction, the first to be erected in the city; the works’ direction was handed over to Romolo Balsimelli and probably during the 16th century the project underwent several modifications, also following the new rules dictated by the Counter reformation. In 1577 the church was finished and its elegant and austere forms resulted to be in keeping with the Lombard dominican order; in the meanwhile the families who had the chapels’ patronage provided for decoration. • Even though the works had been commissioned by various clients, the Dominicans elaborated a unitary iconographical project whose main subject was the fighting against heresies; the two saints, Catherine of Alexandria to whom the church is entitled and Catherine of Siena, the famous dominican • saint, are part of it and the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom: the hooked wheel and the sword, along with the Dominicans’: a dog with a torch in his mouth, are represented almost everywhere. Between 1655 and 1659 the portal’s decoration was executed according to the project by the royal architect Francesco Antonio Picchiatti. At the end of the 17th century the severe dominicans, seduced by the Baroque’s levity, ordered further construction works. In 1677 the floor was reconstructed and the side-chapels’ gates showing the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom were carried out. In 1695 the skilled roman painter Luigi Garzi gave the church a new look covering pilasters and vaults with a simple decoration and painting two scenes depicting St. Catherine of Alexandria in glory contemplated by St. Catherine of Siena in the vault and St. Catherine’s martyrdom in the counterfacade, dated 1698. Santa Caterina a Formello became one of the most beautiful dominican complex in Italy; in 1613 it was provided with both an important drugstore, a refined library as well as a famous collection of very rare nature’s objects. The Dominicans remained here until 1806 when, following the French suppressions, they were compelled to leave the complex which, in 1825, was turned into an important industry of wool production.x The first infrimiation about Santa Caterina a Formello, dating back to the 15thcentury, are related to a little church belonging to ttle Celestine Order, situated outside the extention started by the Aragonese rulers in 1487. Thai; name Formello derives from the presence in that area of;. formali, the ancient city aqueducts. The church ‘came to the forefront’ when the heir to:’41,1/,7- throne, Alphonse duke of Calabria, bought it and transfeirf there the rowdy nuns of the Maddalena, a convent choseh by the duke as dwelling house for his court, since it rose next to his famous villa of delights, known as Duchesca. After Alphonse died (1495) the nuns went back to their convent and in 1498 Santa Caterina was assigned from the new king Frederick to the Lombard reformed Dominicans who followed the strict rules dictated by blessed Raimondo da Capua. It was then that the relics of the 240 Otranto’s martyrs, massacred by the Turks in 1480, were transferred to Santa Caterina. The new church was built starting from 1514 probably based on a project by Antonio Marchese da Settignano, since the authorship is still today a vexed question. Undoubtely the building was endowed with the formal elegant elements typical of the tuscan Renaissance architecture, thereby creating a pleasant harmonious ensamble with the neighbouring Porta Capuana, designed by Giuliano da Majano. The building phases lasted long: in 1519 started the elegant and slender dome’s construction, the first to be erected in the city; the works’ direction was handed over to Romolo Balsimelli and probably during the 16th century the project underwent several modifications, also following the new rules dictated by the Counterreformation. In 1577 the church was finished and its elegant and austere forms resulted to be in keeping with the Lombard dominican order; in the meanwhile the families who had the chapels’ patronage provided for decoration. • Even though the works had been commissioned by various clients, the Dominicans elaborated a unitary iconographical project whose main subject was the fighting against heresies; the two saints, Catherine of Alexandria to whom the church is entitled and Catherine of Siena, the famous dominican • saint, are part of it and the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom: the hooked wheel and the sword, along with the Dominicans’: a dog with a torch in his mouth, are represented almost everywhere. Between 1655 and 1659 the portal’s decoration was executed according to the project by the royal architect Francesco Antonio Picchiatti. At the end of the 17th century the severe dominicans, seduced by the Baroque’s levity, ordered further construction works. In 1677 the floor was reconstructed and the side-chapels’ gates showing the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom were carried out. In 1695 the skilled roman painter Luigi Garzi gave the church a new look covering pilasters and vaults with a simple decoration and painting two scenes depicting St. Catherine of Alexandria in glory contemplated by St. Catherine of Siena in the vault and St. Catherine’s martyrdom in the counterfacade, dated 1698. Santa Caterina a Formello became one of the most beautiful dominican complex in Italy; in 1613 it was provided with both an important drugstore, a refined library as well as a famous collection of very rare nature’s objects. The Dominicans remained here until 1806 when, following the French suppressions, they were compelled to leave the complex which, in 1825, was turned into an important industry of wool production.x The first infrimiation about Santa Caterina a Formello, dating back to the 15thcentury, are related to a little church belonging to ttle Celestine Order, situated outside the extention started by the Aragonese rulers in 1487. Thai; name Formello derives from the presence in that area of;. formali, the ancient city aqueducts. The church ‘came to the forefront’ when the heir to:’41,1/,7- throne, Alphonse duke of Calabria, bought it and transfeirf there the rowdy nuns of the Maddalena, a convent choseh by the duke as dwelling house for his court, since it rose next to his famous villa of delights, known as Duchesca. After Alphonse died (1495) the nuns went back to their convent and in 1498 Santa Caterina was assigned from the new king Frederick to the Lombard reformed Dominicans who followed the strict rules dictated by blessed Raimondo da Capua. It was then that the relics of the 240 Otranto’s martyrs, massacred by the Turks in 1480, were transferred to Santa Caterina. The new church was built starting from 1514 probably based on a project by Antonio Marchese da Settignano, since the authorship is still today a vexed question. Undoubtely the building was endowed with the formal elegant elements typical of the tuscan Renaissance architecture, thereby creating a pleasant harmonious ensamble with the neighbouring Porta Capuana, designed by Giuliano da Majano. The building phases lasted long: in 1519 started the elegant and slender dome’s construction, the first to be erected in the city; the works’ direction was handed over to Romolo Balsimelli and probably during the 16th century the project underwent several modifications, also following the new rules dictated by the Counterreformation. In 1577 the church was finished and its elegant and austere forms resulted to be in keeping with the Lombard dominican order; in the meanwhile the families who had the chapels’ patronage provided for decoration. • Even though the works had been commissioned by various clients, the Dominicans elaborated a unitary iconographical project whose main subject was the fighting against heresies; the two saints, Catherine of Alexandria to whom the church is entitled and Catherine of Siena, the famous dominican • saint, are part of it and the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom: the hooked wheel and the sword, along with the Dominicans’: a dog with a torch in his mouth, are represented almost everywhere. Between 1655 and 1659 the portal’s decoration was executed according to the project by the royal architect Francesco Antonio Picchiatti. At the end of the 17th century the severe dominicans, seduced by the Baroque’s levity, ordered further construction works. In 1677 the floor was reconstructed and the side-chapels’ gates showing the symbols of St. Catherine’s martyrdom were carried out. In 1695 the skilled roman painter Luigi Garzi gave the church a new look covering pilasters and vaults with a simple decoration and painting two scenes depicting St. Catherine of Alexandria in glory contemplated by St. Catherine of Siena in the vault and St. Catherine’s martyrdom in the counterfacade, dated 1698. Santa Caterina a Formello became one of the most beautiful dominican complex in Italy; in 1613 it was provided with both an important drugstore, a refined library as well as a famous collection of very rare nature’s objects. The Dominicans remained here until 1806 when, following the French suppressions, they were compelled to leave the complex which, in 1825, was turned into an important industry of wool production.