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The Church of Santa Maria della Pace in Naples

The Church of Santa Maria della Pace in Naples is part of a complex that includes the Hospital of Peace dating back to the sixteenth century and the “Lazaretto Hall”.

interno chiesa della pace Napoli
Di Baku – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3710805

The monumental complex of Santa Maria della Pace

The monumental complex of Santa Maria della Pace is located in Via dei Tribunali near Castel Capuano. Inside we find the hospital of the Hospitaller Friars of St. John of God (built in 1587) known as the Hospital of Peace, the church, and the Lazaretto Hall.

The complex was built around an ancient noble palace built by Giovanni Caracciolo in the fifteenth century. The architecture of the ancient building is evident in the entrance portal, in Gothic style, characterized by a large multifoil arch. The church was designed by Pietro De Marino, started in 1629 and completed in 1659; the name is due to the fact that it was completed in the year that peace was established between Louis XIV of France and Philip IV of Spain and was therefore dedicated to Santa Maria della Pace.

The Church layout

The church has a Latin cross plan with a single nave and 3 chapels on each side. The interior was restored in 1732 after the earthquake by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. The apse is by Nicola Tagliacozzi Canale.

Lazzaretto Hall

Lazaretto Hall

After climbing a large staircase, you enter the Lazaretto Hall, whose entrance is on the left of the vestibule.

The name Lazaretto Hall comes from the fact that this place was dedicated to the reception of lepers, plague victims, and other infected patients and was one of the few in the city of Naples. The hall is about 80 meters long, 12.50 meters high, and 10.24 meters wide. At the end, you can admire the marble high altar dating back to the eighteenth century, which formerly separated the main area from the medical office.

The hall also features a balcony running along the perimeter, placed at mid-height and used to serve food and drink to the plague victims in order to prevent contagion by maintaining distance.

Under the vault and between the windows, you can appreciate the frescoes by Andrea Viola and Giacinto Diano.

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