Convent and Church of S. Maria della PuritÓ

Suor Serafina di Dio, responsible for many places of devotion throughout Campania in the second half of the 17th century, founded the complex of S. Maria della PuritÓ in Pagani with the funds donated by the leading townspeople. The church and convent were built on the edge of the town, on the site of the church of S. Maria dei martiri alla Cantilena, donated by the ôUniversitÓ di Paganiö in 1679. In 1682 the land for the convent was purchased, and it housed first nuns of the rule of S. Teresa del Bambin Ges¨ and subsequently the barefoot Carmelites. Now the building is run by the Pia Unione Ammalati Cristo Salvezza, and following restoration of earthquake damage, is used as a reception centre. The complex occupies an entire block of the historical centre, halfway along the high street where the Villa Comunale stands, once the convent garden as the venerable pine in its midst testifies. The convent is built in a sober style on two storeys and a square groundplan. It stands to the left of the church, round a cloister with pillars. Its west front features a fine doorway adorned with an oval fresco (on the left note the service entrance with a tuff voussoir dating from 1726). The church, like the convent, stands above street level and is reached by a double flight of steps. The fašade, with two orders rising to a towering gable, is divided up by pilasters with stucco decorations and pediment evoking 18th century decorative schemes; oval frescoes adorn both the doorway and the adjacent entrance to the convent. The light and airy interior has a double choir (round the chancel and backing onto it) and grilles down the nave featuring delicate gilt gridwork. The majolica flooring dates from the first half of the 19th century and features a central tondo with cherubs supporting the crest of arms. Above the 18th century marble altars in the four chapels hang fine paintings, including a Flagellation by Solimena (and on the high altar, the Madonna della PuritÓ). Since 1987 the church has been a sanctuary dedicated to the Christ Child of Prague, venerated in the form of a wooden statue in one of the chapels, its walls covered with ex votos.


17th century


E. Padovano Way


Pagani's Tour

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