Massa, Schiazzano, Monticchio, Massa
Description of the route
This route follows the traces of one of the most famous Neapolitan “riggiolari” masters, active during the 18th century: Ignazio Chiaiese.
Belonging to one of the most important families of the time, expert in the construction of the famous majolica tiles known as “riggiole”, Ignazio Chiaiese arrived in Massa Lubrense following the meeting with Sister Cristina Olivieri, founder of the Most Holy Rosary Convent of Monticchio.
Mastr’Ignazio, as he was called, was fascinated by the beauty of the place and, together with the construction of the Conservatory, he took care of the embellishment of several churches in the Lubrense area, creating wonderful floors painted with floral and faunal themes, a very original style compared to the canons of the tradition.
The itinerary starts from Massa Centro and, after visiting the former cathedral Santa Maria delle Grazie with its wonderful recently restored majolica floor, continues along Viale Filangieri, until the intersection with Via IV Novembre. Here you continue on Via Mortelle and Via Sant’Aniello Vecchio, an ancient, partially dirt road that connects the center of Massa with the village of Santa Maria.
To the left of the church of Santa Maria della Misericordia, take Via Del Rosario, which climbs up to the beginning of Vicolo Barbarella.
Keeping to the left, you reach the heart of the village of Schiazzano, a small village where it is pleasant to get lost in the alleys lined with lemon pergolas and where period buildings frame the sixteenth-century church dedicated to the Holy Savior, embellished with a wonderful floor majolica.
From Schiazzano, the walk continues along the main road to the intersection with Via Ponte Scuro, a narrow road that starts on the right, after a modern tuff quarry.
The road reaches the foot of the large staircase of the eighteenth-century church of the Most Holy Rosary, in Monticchio. The interior is baroque, with elegant architecture and decoration. Very interesting is also the attached Convent, whose construction was strongly desired by Sister Cristina Olivieri. The construction of the religious building was strongly opposed by the locals, worried that the flourishing of convents on the Lubrense territory would reduce their arable land, a precious resource for the local economy of the time.
Inside the Convent, in the beautiful cloister, you can observe a spectacular majolica panel, in Baroque style. Here Chiaiese represented himself as a penitent at the feet of the Virgin, a rare example of self-portrait in this kind of art. The walk continues going back along Via Ponte Scuro, until you return to the road keeping to the right.
The road ends joining with Via Massa Turro, after which you will find Via Gesine, at the end of which you need to continue left until you meet the main road again and continue taking Via Sant’Aniello Vecchio on the left, an ancient road that leads back to Massa Center.