Church of the Santissima Annunziata, Vico Equense | Photo: Amadalvarez, (Own work), via Wikimedia Creative Commons
Art Tour on the Coast. The Most Beautiful Churches to Visit
Besides the Duomo of Sant’Andrea in Amalfi, the Church of Saints Filippo and Giacomo in Sorrento, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Pantaleone in Ravello and the Church with the majolica dome of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano, along the two famed coastlines, there are holy places which deserve to be visited, not just for their architectural merits which have seen radical transformations over time, but also for the masterpieces of art that they host within their walls.
In Sant’Agnello, just a short distance from Hotel Mediterraneo and Piazza Marinella, are the Church and Convent of Cappuccine Friars, buildings from 1586 dedicated to Saints John and Paul. It has a single nave with three chapels on the right side, its interior adorned with cherry-wood carvings and among its works of art, there is the Madonna Venerata dai Santi Francesco e Giovanni (Mother Mary Venerated by Saints Francis and John) by Eduardo Scarpati. Outside, there is a statue of Saint Francis on the upper part of the facade in pastel yellow.
Church of the Cappuccine Order in Sant'Agnello Photo: (Own work), via Wikimedia Creative Commons
In Vico Equense, overlooking the sea, is one of Italy’s most stunning churches, elected to the Top 10 Restorations in Italy of 2016: the Church of the Santissima Annunziata. Between 1284 and 1299, it was built over the remnants of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Cybele and it represents one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in the Campania Region. Restored in the 1700s, its pink facade is in the Baroque style. At one time, the church was residence to Augustinian priests belonging to the congregation of San Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples.
In Piazza Tasso in Sorrento, the Chiesa del Carmine, from the second half of the 1500s, is dedicated to the Beata Vergine del Carmelo - the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmelo. Damaged on several occasions and then rebuilt, it has a single nave with lateral altars and the paintings it holds are mostly of the Neapolitan School, such as the Madonna col Bambino, while on the main altar sits a copy of the Madonna Bruna - the original version can be found in the Chiesa del Carmine in Piazza Mercato in Naples.
Chiesa del Carmine, Sorrento | Photo: Berthold Werner, via Wikimedia Creative Commons
The Amalfi Coast
In Vietri sul Mare, the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista or the Church of Saint John the Baptist has its origins in the X Century and has undergone various renovations and rebuilds over time, the last one being all the way back in 1732. It is at the highest point of the historic city centre of this beautiful town on the Amalfi Coast, famous for its ceramics and its crystal-clear sea. The church is easily recognised by its majolica octagonal dome.
The Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie (Church of Our Lady of Graces) in Raito is known for its panoramic position overlooking the Gulf of Salerno. The structure, from 1540, has a characteristic main altar with a marble antependium with Christ Deceased, Surrounded by Sngels, with, above, a large canvas from the 1500s of the Vergine delle Grazie. In the lateral chapel, from 1727, there are numerous frescoes by Luca Giordano. Created in Naples, there is a statue from the 1800s of Madonna delle Grazie which is carried by the faithful during local processions.
Ceiling decorations of the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Raito (Vietri sul Mare) | Photo: © Fiore Silvestro Barbato, via Flickr
From the second half of the XIII Century, the Chiesa di Santa Chiara in Ravello has three naves divided by two colonnades with four ancient columns. The central nave has a barrel vaulted ceiling, while the lateral ones are adorned by cross-vaulted ceilings. Enriching the romanic style is a majolica floor created in the 1700s. The church is part of the Monastery of the Monache Clarisse Urbaniste, founded in the XIII Century. Among the others in the city, the Chiesa di San Francesco from the XIII Century has a history which mixes legend and reality - it is said to have been founded by Saint Francis himself over another church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, of which only a few remnants can be seen today. Among it more important paintings are the Deposizione di Cristo, La Madonna del Rosario con i Santi Domenico e Caterina and a pipe organ from 1909. A Franciscan Convent is right next to the church.
Chiesa di San Giovanni del Toro, Ravello | Photo: Jensens (Own work), via Wikimedia Creative Commons