THE CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL – ANACAPRI /ITALY
Discover the tiny alleys of Anacapri with your professional Tourist Guide, and enjoy the Art-treasure of the Church of Saint Michael in the centre of the town Anacapri/Italy.
Not to confuse with the Museum of Villa of Saint Michael – constructed by Axel Munthe!.
The opening times:
From April to September: from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From October to March: from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
27th Nov. and 8th. Dec. closed.
The construction is one of the most impressive and beautiful examples of Neapolitan Architecture of the 18. Century. Remarkable stucco work, harmonious change of arches and vaults and the simple white fits perfectly to the appearance of the typical south Italian village. The architect Antonio Domenico Vaccaro pointed the baroque perfectly out. The central-plan building inspires all visitors to relax and to reflect. The Church of Saint Michael became especially famous by the Majolica floor:
THE CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL – ANACAPRI /ITALY: History of the Majolica-floor “The expulsion of paradise”
This giant mosaic of ceramic, on the magnificent floor, was created In 1761 by the master Leonardo Chiaiese. Chiaiese was originally from the Abruzzi (region in the south of Campania/Naples) and was known as the “Master of Maiolica” in the kingdom of Naples – Sicily!
You will find in the centre several trees. Around the apple tree winds a snake (represents the temptation). Over the tree you can admire the sky with the stars – the universe. The lower part of the masterpiece shows three personalities: The Archangel driving out of Paradise Adam and Eve.
Around the central happening we will find the animal kingdom. By exact contemplation you will find the scenery painted in a naïve way: the expressive faces of the animals hide human characteristic. Her you can admire the typical fauna of the region Campania: Buffalos, goats, sheep’s, the unicorn which interprets the Virginity. Who suspected this mythical creature in a Christian church?
Animals of hole the world are represented! They presume that the master reproduced the illustration of a very old bible. My absolute Nr. 1 is the crocodile – to find as miniature everywhere on the island – our lizards! Thanks to the employment of the fraternity, in the last years the church was renewed by the proceeds of the Entrance fees! It would be a pity to walk on the pavement – but with the catwalk it is absolutely a great experience to see the details of the Maiolica-paintings!
For photographers we have an extra High light! Walk up the spiral staircase and take the picture from the birds view!
Often people come down and – they are so amazed that they forgot to took a picture! Imagine how complicated it was to put the right tile on the right place!
THE CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL – ANACAPRI /ITALY: History of the church
The Church of Saint Michael was founded by nun Mother Serafina di Dio (as well as the monastery). The reason of the construction is to find by the siege of the Muslims of Turkey in front of Vienna (1683). Mother Serafina di Dio asked the Archangel Michael to protect the Christianity against the unbelievers (Turkey). The Hapsburgan rein was known as impregnable bulwark. When the Turkeys arrived to Vienna, Mother Serafine di Dio begged intensely for the victory and to fortify the Christianity. She promised a beautiful church and the monastery, if it comes to fulfilling her Prayers.
Still now a days the Neapolitans use the same tradition called “Fioretto”. They pray for a special object and promises by fulfilling to donate something o to do a special act (mostly diets!). Her requests were satisfied! The Hapsburgan won on the 2. September 1683 against the Turkeys. Mother Serafina di Dio honored her pledge and with the financial help of Antonio Migliacci, a nobleman of Sardenia, she ordered the works.
Niccolo Antonio Squillante evidences in a document relating to the construction of the church between 1698 and 1719, as well as the exact amount of the donation. Later on Monsignore Michele Gallo di Vandenejede (1678-1727) donned money for this beautiful baroque church. His last wish was to be buried here. The ex-conservatorium in front of the church became the monastery and the home of the enclosure nuns. In 1808, the war of Napoleon, was the monastery used as an ammunition store. The French pretended after the defeat the disbanding of the order.
The nuns had to leave the church!
THE CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL – ANACAPRI /ITALY: Fraternety “Immaculate Conception”
Ferdinand I. of Bourbon discovered the church and opened it again for the Christians . In 1817 the king handed it over to the fraternity of lay-men called “immaculate conception”. The monastery was used like an military orphanage and later on it was sold to the Duke of Poppenheim. In 1880 the monastery was expropriated and sold to private families. Still today the fraternity of immaculate conception admisters and protects the Church of Sainte Michael. But the right word is to care about! This fraternity works in public spirit and is the hard of the social soul. Strokes of fait, illness, accident – the fraternity is always on the spot! – Anonymously!
An example of selfless compassion!
The engagement of the organization is the novena and the solemnity of the immaculate conception (8.th of Dec.) as well as the constant adoration of the blessed virgin Maria, the candlemas (2.nd Feb.), the visit of the deceased brothers and sisters and certainly to hold the wake. As well as the celebration of the messes and to convey the intercession, the care of the families and terminally ill persons. The fraternity promotes the connections to religious and social associations in major framework too.
The church conceals several treasures!
Masterpieces of the church of Saint Michel – ANACAPRI /ITALY
A great number of Neapolitan artists of the bourbon royal court left their traces here. Art gallery: The oil paintings show in the 6 side-altars the holy family, the pictures on the high altar point the archangels out .
From right to left:
1. Chapel: The Archangel Raphael with Tobiolo (Paolo de Matteis)
2. Chapel: The Holy family (Francesco Solimena) – right
The Virgin between Saint Nicholas of Bari and Saint Blaise (Paolo de Matteis) center
Jesus with Mary Magdalene (Francesco Sollimena) – right
3. Chapel: The Annunciation (Paolo de Matteis)- right
Right hand wall of the High Altar:
Oration in the Garden (Giaccomo del Po)
High Altar: Guardian Angel (Paolo de Matteis)
High Altar – rear wall: Saint Michael the Archangel (Nicola Malinconico)
High Altar: Guardian Angel (Paolo de Matteis)
High Altar left hand wall: The adoration of the Shepherds (Giaccomo del Po)
1. Chapel: Our Lady of Sorrows (Paolo de Matteis) – left
2. Chapel:Jesus bearing the cross (Francesco Solimena) – right
Madonna del Carmine with Saint Joseph and Saint Theresa (Paolo de Matteis) center
Madonna giving clothes to Saint Simon Stock (Francesco Solimena) – left
3. Chapel: Guradian Angel (Paolo de Matteis)
Masterpieces of the church of Saint Michel – ANACAPRI /ITALY …. continues
The most beautiful painting seems to be the Holy Archangel Michael, which is situated on the High Altar. The colorful vividness and expressiveness of the depiction are divine! As the most precious pieces of the art collection of Neapolitan painters of the 18. Century are known the paintings on the site wall of the altar:
Our Lady of Sorrow (Paolo de Matteis)
The adoration of the Shepherds (Giaccomo del Po)
The wooden Statue of Mother Mary (Immaculata) krowns the scenery!
This unique Museum hides a special treasure:
Please help to preserve all the masterpieces – don’t use flashlights! The colors of the paintings, the majolica and other masterpieces will held as well for the next generations: your children and your Grandchildren!
Thank you for your great collaboration!
Cecilia Barbara Walch