Church of Santa Teresa

Church of Santa Teresa

Position: Massa centro

In Massa Centro, going down from Piazza Vescovado to via Palma, you will find, on the left, the convent and the adjoining church of Santa Teresa: the complex was founded, at the behest of the University and Bishop Francesco Maria Neri, in 1673 on land donated by a local young woman, Augusta Maldacea, who became a nun of the same convent with the name of Sister Anna del Bene.

At the beginning, the religious work struggled to “take off”: only with the arrival from Capri of the mystical and religious Serafina di Dio, who spent a long time in Massa Lubrense, the convent could develop, joining the Carmelite family.

The courtyard on which this building overlooked has long since disappeared, and its porch closed in order to make it possible to build the current road that leads from the main square to the port. The volumetric masses of the convent end with the severe elevation church.

The facade, completed by architect Giuseppe Stendardo, is divided horizontally by a high piperno cornice, which is repeated in the crowning. Vertically, the facade is marked by simple red brick pilasters, which delimit the spaces in correspondence with the arches behind and, in the upper part, end with capitals in the style of Michelangelo..

The entrance arch, framed by pilasters and with a volute as a key, is surmounted by a high window with piperno frames corresponding to the internal choir: this is flanked by two openings, now walled up, but once open and facing the courtyard, to which correspond, on the lower floor, two double-lobed windows, with small holes arranged horizontally.

The church is accessed via a ramp, located under the central arch, which is divided into two lateral, symmetrical staircases, leading into the Conservatory and into the church itself. The plant has a single nave, with two chapels, respectively entitled to the Holy Family, the one on the Gospel side, and the other to the Madonna del Carmine.

A long women’s gallery runs through the entire interior space, ending in a closed choir that occupies the entire apse on the upper floor. A further choir is located in correspondence with the first, but at the same level as the floor of the church. This choir once housed the seventeenth-century reliquary busts, containing the remains of Roman martyrs from the church of the Jesuit College of Lubrense, which came from the Roman catacombs of Priscilla and Callisto. It was the Jesuit Father General Claudio Acquaviva, as a sign of benevolence, who donated the precious relics to Father Vincenzo Maggio, the influential founder of the Lubrense college.

The internal architectural layout of the Church of Santa Teresa is obtained with tall pilasters decorated with lanceolate points, whose capitals are teeming with angels, respecting the best Fanzangian tradition. The current high altar, made with polychrome marbles according to the Baroque style, was erected between 1757 and 1763 and is dominated by the canvas depicting Santa Teresa D’Avila, attributed to Andrea Malinconico: in correspondence with this there are two sepulchral stones belonging to the Persico family, with coats of arms and epigraphs.

The ancient majolica floor of the eighteenth century is still precious, perfectly preserved and attributed to Chiaiese: the floor presents, along the sides, the elegant solution of bringing out decorative majolica pieces from others left in natural terracotta, and is dominated, in the center , from a cruciform decorative motif formed by leaves, which seems to recall the arms of the star symbolizing the Holy Spirit.