Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact:Jeff Matthews

 entry Mar. 2003

hurch of the Incoronata

The Church of the Incoronata is on via Medina just a few yards from Piazza Municipio. The church gives you a good idea of how the city has changed over the centuries. It is the oldest church in that part of Naples, stemming from the 14th century, and is, in fact, the only building from that century left standing so close to the main square. It is named in honor of the coronation of Queen Giovanna I, which event took place in 1352. There is some debate as to whether the church incorporated part of an earlier building, a Hall of Justice. In any event, beginning with the Angevins in that century, the street level adjacent to the church underwent a gradual building up, especially in the early 1500s, when extensive trench and moat building at nearby Maschio Angioino produced vast amounts of land fill that was then used to raise the street level. The modern road is well above the old street level and entrance to the church. To enter the church today, you have to go down some steps. All other buildings on via Medina on both sides of the street are at the higher street level.

To add insult to injury, the entire church became the basement for a building constructed over it in the 1800s. There are photographs of that hybrid piece of architecture that show the outlines of the original arches barely visible beneath the more modern façade. Restoration was started in the 1920s. The building no longer functions as a church, but is, rather, an historical monument. It was "adopted" recently by a local school and the school children participate in taking care of it. When the restoration of the building was complete a few years ago, indeed it was the school kids who ran the opening exhibit and contributed most of the photos, sketches, and accounts of the history of the church.

[Update: June 2014]

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