Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

The Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Naples Sights

San Francesco di Paola

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Updated 12/12/2013

Fodor's Review

Modeled after Rome's Pantheon, this circular basilica is the centerpiece of the Piazza Plebiscito and remains one of the most frigidly voluptuous examples of the Stil Empire, or Neoclassical style, in Italy. Commissioned by Ferdinand I to fulfill a vow he had made in order to enlist divine aid in being reinstated to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, it rose at one end of the vast parade ground built several years earlier by Joachim Murat. Completed in the

late 1840s after 30 years of construction, it managed to transform Murat's inconveniently grandiose colonnade—whose architect was clearly inspired by the colonnades of St. Peter's in Rome—into a setting for restored Bourbon glory. Pietro Bianchi from Lugano in Switzerland won a competition and built a slightly smaller version of the Pantheon, with a beautiful coffered dome and a splendid set of 34 Corinthian columns in gray marble; but the overall lack of color (so different from the warm interior of the Pantheon), combined with the severe geometrical forms, produces an almost defiantly cold space. To some, this only proves the ancients did sometimes know their own architecture better. Art historians find the spectacle of the church to be the ultimate in Neoclassical grandezza (greatness); others think this Roman temple is only suitable to honor Jupiter, not Christ. In any event, the main altar, done in gold, lapis lazuli, and other precious stones by Anselmo Caggiano (1641), was taken from the destroyed Church of the Santi Apostoli and provides some relief from the oppressive perfection of the setting. On a hot summer day, the church's preponderance of marble guarantees sanctuary from the heat outside, with a temperature drop of ten or more degrees.

Read More

Sight Information

Address:

Piazza Plebiscito, Naples, 80132, Italy

Phone:

081-7645133

Sight Details:

  • Mon.–Sat. 8:30–noon and 4–7, Sun. 8–noon

Updated 12/12/2013

Advertisement

What's Nearby

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Sights

See all sights in The Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Naples

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?

Experience

Ease

Value

Don't Miss

Advertisement