Gesù Nuovo

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Gesù Nuovo

A stunning architectural contrast to the plain Romanesque frontage of other nearby churches, the oddly faceted stone facade of this elaborate Baroque church dates to the late 16th century. Originally a palace, the building was seized by Pedro of Toledo in 1547 and donated to the Jesuits on the condition the facade remain intact. Recent research has revealed that the symbols on the stones out front are Aramaic musical notes that produce a 45-minute concerto. Behind the entrance is Francesco Solimena’s action-packed Helidorus’ Eviction from the Temple. The bulk of the interior decoration took more than 40 years and was completed only in the 18th century. You can find the work of familiar Baroque sculptors (Naccherino, Finelli) and painters inside. The gracious Visitation above the altar in the second chapel on the right is by Massimo Stanzione, who also contributed the fine frescoes in the main nave: they're in the presbytery (behind and around the main altar).

Don't miss the votive chapel dedicated to the surgeon and university teacher Saint Giuseppe Moscato, along with a re-creation of his studio. Here hundreds of tiny silver images have been hung on the walls to give thanks to the saint, who was canonized in 1987, for his assistance in medical matters. On the opposite far left corner a smaller chapel similarly gives thanks to San Ciro (Saint Cyrus), also a doctor. Further down are impressive statues of David and Jeremiah by Fanzago. Left of the altar the wooden heads of various saints are aligned like gods in an antique theater.

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