Sunday, December 11, 2011

S. Giovanni Maggiore

We have just returned from a brief trip to Naples where we obtained permission from the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici to view and photograph the church and the scavi of S. Giovanni Maggiore, one of the most important early-Christian buildings of Naples, constructed under Bishop Vincenzo c. 550-60.

The church was meticulously and beautifully restored by the Soprintendenza under the supervision of Arch. Orsola Foglia and team but has been closed since its completion in 2003/4. Thanks to Arch. Foglia and the Soprintendenza, we have now expanded out its entry in our Interactive Map of Medieval Naples and have posted a complete series of images in our web gallery.

Most notable among these for medievalists are the two spoliated capitals surmounted by Vincenzo’s monograph, and the remains of the early-Christian ambulatory, incorporating spoliated columns and pilasters from Leptis Magna dating from the second century CE. Both the scavi and the restoration of the dazzling 17th-century basilica (by Dionisio Lazzari) are important cultural sites in Naples, and we urge readers to make inquiries to the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici (Palazzo Reale, Piazza del Plebiscito, Napoli) both to view the site and to urge its reopening and the complete publication of its restoration and excavations.

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