Santi Severino e Sossio

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The church of Santi Severino e Sossio and the annexed monastery are located on via Bartolommeo Capasso in Naples, Italy.

Church of Santi Severino e Sossio
Chiesa dei Santi Severino e Sossio
The façade of church.
Coordinates: 40°50′52″N 14°15′30″E / 40.847764°N 14.258294°E / 40.847764; 14.258294
LocationVia Bartolommeo Capasso
Province of Naples, Campania
DenominationRoman Catholic
Architectural typeChurch
StyleBaroque architecture
DioceseRoman Catholic Archdiocese of Naples

The church is attached to one of the oldest monasteries in the city, and from 1835 it has housed the State Archives of Naples. It was founded in the tenth century by the Benedictine Order, but the Saracen raids of the time forced them to abandon the old monastery, located on the hill of Pizzofalcone, taking the relics of San Severino with them. In 904 they added to these the relics of San Sossio, martyred companion of San Gennaro. They remained here till 1808, when they were taken to Frattamaggiore.

During the Angevin reign a number of important events occurred in this monastery, such as the convening of parliament in 1394 by the Sanseverino family, who were supporters of Louis II of Anjou.[1] In 1490, the architect Giovanni Francesco Mormando from Calabria laid the foundations of the present church, which was completed by the 16th century by Giovanni Francesco di Palma.[2] The cupola built in 1561 was one of the first in Naples, designed by the Florentine architect Sigismondo di Giovanni.[3]


The frescoes of the cupola (1566), now lost, were originally painted by a Flemish painter by the name of Pablo or Paolo Schepers. Other painters active in the church comprised a polyglot series of artists, including Marco Pino of Siena, Benvenuto Tortelli of Brescia, Bartolomeo Chiarini of Rome, Cosimo Fanzago of Bergamo, and lastly Fabrizio di Guido from Carrara. The last painter was active in the Medici chapel. .

There is a long tradition of Tuscan artists residing in Naples, and was stimulated by the arrival of a group of master artisans from Carrara in the late 1500s, after the marriage of Alberico Cybo Malaspina and the Neapolitan Isabella of Capua, from the Duchy of Termoli. But there had already been a large contingent of Tuscan traders and financiers in Naples. For example, Antonio Piccolomini used the Strozzi family to negotiate having Antonio Rossellino and Benedetto da Maiano participate in the decoration of the Piccolomini Chapel in the church of Sant'Anna dei Lombardi. In addition, Tino di Camaino and Giotto apparently visited Naples under Angevin patronage.[4]

The decor of the chapels of Santi Severino e Sossio follows a pattern common to late Renaissance Neapolitan chapels: a reclining figure embedded within an architectural arched entablature, and the large altarpiece framed like a tabernacle, with lateral walls also holding paintings, and the lunettes painted in fresco.[5]

The wooden choir (1573) was designed by Benvenuto Tortelli da Brescia,[6] and became a model for others in Southern Italy. In fact, monks from the Benedictine convent of San Martino delle Scale in Palermo requested a choir that "conformed" to that of San Severino.[7] It also influenced other choir stalls and woodwork, including San Paolo Maggiore completed in 1583 by Giovan Lorenzo d'Albano (destroyed in last war), work in the sacristy of Santa Caterina a Formiello and S. Maria delle Grazie a Caponapoli (works by Martino Migliore), and finally the choirs in the church of Santi Apostoli, Santa Maria la Nova, and the Cathedral (1616) by Marcantonio Ferraro.

Construction continued in the 18th century by Giovanni del Gaizo, who finished the facade using a design by Giovan Battista Nauclerio. When the Benedictines were expelled in 1799, the convent was occupied by the order of Sanfedisti and in 1813, became the collegio di Marina. In 1835 it became the archive of the state, which is still its present function.


In the apse of the church main altar and the balustrade of presbytery (1640) were made and designed by Cosimo Fanzago. In 1783 the main altar was remodeled by Giacomo Mazzotti, the floor dates to 1697.

The church has a Latin cross plan with seven chapels on each side and a deep rectangular apse. The nave frescoes and canvases were painted by Francesco de Mura, while the lateral chapels include works of the painter Marco Pino and the neapolitan sculptor Giovanni da Nola. Of note, is the funerary monument of Camillo de' Medici, completed by Girolamo D'Auria at the end of the 16th century. Through the sacristy one can access the lower church, built and decorated in Renaissance style, completed by Mormando.

The chapelsEdit

Right NaveEdit

Most of the chapels on the right side were completed by the mid- to late 16th century, but their ownership passed through various hands.

The first chapel, belonging in 1550 to the cavalier Annibale Mastrogiudice, became property of the Genoese Cristofaro Grimaldi in 1576.

The second chapel was bought in 1545 by Giancarlo Casanova, then passed to Prospero Tuttavilla in 1591.

The third chapel, initially owned by 1541 by Marino Mastrogiudice (aristocrat and lawyer from Sorrento and president of a Royal Advisory panel, the Regia Camera della Sommaria.[8] From Mastrogiudice it passed to the Saliceti Family in 1551, and then to Fabio Giordano by 1568;[9]

The fourth chapel in 1559 belonged to Giannandrea and by 1561 to Ottaviano de Curtis.

The fifth chapel was assigned to the jurist Teano Gianfelice Scalaleone[10] and by 1598 to the Genoese jurist consult Francesco Massa[11]

The sixth chapel was assigned to Francesco Albertini, juristconsult of Nola in 1549;[12]

Below the church is the tomb of Giovan Battista Cicaro (c. 1507–1512), with an epitath written by Jacopo Sannazaro: Liquisti gemitum miseræ / lacrymasq<ue> parenti, / pro quibus infelix / hunc tibi dat timulum. Construction of the tomb monument itself has been attributed once to either Giovanni da Nola or a Spanish sculptor by the name of Pietro della Plata,[13] but later scholarship seems to attribute them to Andrea Ferrucci da Fiesole and Bartolomé Ordóñez.[14]

Left NaveEdit

The Chapel of Medici di Gragnano, which holds the tomb of Camillo de' Medici (1596), was decorated in a sumptuous Tuscan style, the first of its kind in Naples, using polychrome inlay not only in pavement but also in walls. The chapel and monument are works by Girolamo D'Auria and Fabrizio di Guido.

This chapel is off the left nave.[15]

The Apse chapelsEdit

The Sanseverino chapel and the chapel of Girolamo Gesualdo, flank the main altar.[16] They were decorated in the mid-1500s,[17] before the completion of the church in 1567.[18]

The Sanseverino Chapel, dedicated to the body of Christ, was conceived by Ippolita de Monti, wife of Ugo and Countess of Saponara,[19][20] as a pantheon of the family. Over the years, in addition to house the tomb of the founder and also three of her young children (who had been murdered). The chapel was enriched with shields, medallions and inscriptions, commemorating members of the family: the warrior Alessandro de Monti, (died June 22, 1622); Julia de Monti, placed in the tomb (1715) by son Geronimo de Monti-Sanfelice, Duke of Lauriano, who lived in the first half of the 18th century; Salvatore Capua-Sanseverino, Prince of Riccia and Marquis of Raia, who died in 1858.[21] With its classic architecture the arches of the chapel imitates lateral chapels of the church of Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, where just two years later Florentine artists introduce in the Tuscan taste for sumptuous decoration in fresco and stucco motifs.[22]

On the 16th century pavement, many tombs are found, including that of Belisario Corenzio, who died in a fall from the scaffolding while he frescoed the vault of this church.[23] After much of the ceilings collapse in the 1731 earthquake, they were refrescoed by Francesco De Mura, who also painted the counterfacade (1739) and Giovanni Paolo Melchiorri, who painted the choir ceiling with a Glory of St Benedict.[24] The stucco of the nave was completed by Giuseppe Scarola. The Sacristy conserves a complete cycle of frescoes by Onofrio De Lione, brother of Andrea and student of Corenzio. Onofrio painted the Old Testament Scenes (1651). The Trinity fresco was painted by Corenzio

The church has three cloisters:

  • The first, called the Chiostro del Platano, was so called due to a plantain tree which legend holds was planted by St. Benedict and whose leaves had healing powers. The plant was demolished in 1959, when the trunk measured 8.45 m in circumference. In the portico, originally stood upright columns, then replace of pilaters, and frescoed by Solario, with scenes of the life of St. Benedict;
  • The second, called the Chiostro del Noviziato was built in the 15th century, in a rectangular plan, supported by thirty arches resting on pillars Piperno rock. In 1803, the upper floor was converted into a two-story building, designed in part to the accommodate a school. At the center stands a bust of Bartolommeo Capasso;
  • The third, called the Marble Cloister (Chiostro di Marmo), was built between the 1500s. The arches of the cloister are supported by columns in white Carrara marble.


  1. ^ Stanislao D'Aloe, Catalogo di tutti gli edifici sacri della città di Napoli, in "Archivio Storico per le Province Napoletane", VIII, 1883, p. 728.
  2. ^ Maria Raffaella Pessolano, Il convento napoletano dei Santi Severino e Sossio, Napoli, 1978, p. 71
  3. ^ Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Monasteri Soppressi, fascio 1793; Nunzio Federico Faraglia, Memorie artistiche of the church benedettina dei Santi Severino e Sossio, in "Archivio Storico per le Province Napoletane", III, 1887, pp. 236-237.
  4. ^ Anthony Blunt, Neapolitan baroque and rococo architecture, London, 1975, p. 5.
  5. ^ Herman Voss, Die Malerei der Spätrenaissance in Rom und Florenz, Berlin, 1920, trad. it. cons.: La pittura del tardo Rinascimento a Roma e a Firenze, Roma, 1994, p. 61.
  6. ^ Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Monasteri Soppressi, fascio 1793, cc. 17r-22r
  7. ^ Gennaro Toscano, art. cit., pp. 253.
  8. ^ Matteo Camera, Istoria della città e costiera di Amalfi in due parti divisa, Naples, Printed and cartiera del Fibreno, 1836, p. 414.
  9. ^ Piero Doria, Giordano, Fabio, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Rome, LV, 2000, pp. 263-264.
  10. ^ Lodovico Antonio Muratori, Raccolta delle vite, e famiglie degli uomini illustri del regno di Napoli, Milan, M. Sessa Publisher, 1755, p. 72.
  11. ^ Girolamo Rossi, Storia della città di Ventimiglia dalle sue origini sino ai nostri tempi Turin, 1859, p. 226.
  12. ^ Cesare D'Engenio Caracciolo, Napoli sacra, Napoli, per Ottavio Beltrano, 1623, p. 325
  13. ^ Cesare D'Engenio Caracciolo, Napoli sacra, Naples, Ottavio Beltrano, 1623, p.326; "Antologia romana", 42 (April 1796), Publisher Gio. Zempel, Rome; p. 329-331.
  14. ^ Riccardo Naldi, L'iconografia funeraria del primo 1500s a Napoli, in Les Académies dans l'Europe humaniste: idéaux et pratiques, Droz 2008, pp. 260-263
  15. ^ Inventario de' monumenti of the church dei Santi Severino e Sossio, ms 1872, Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, Bibl. Prov., ms 31, cc. 63r-79r; Lawrence R. d'Aniello, The chapel Medici di Gragnano in the church dei Santi Severino e Sossio a Napoli, in "Napoli Nobilissima", ser. 5., vol. 6, fasc. 1/4 (genn.-ago. 2005), pp. 21, 64 note 4,5.
  16. ^ Maria Antonietta Visceglia, Il bisogno di eternità. I comportamenti aristocratici a Napoli in età moderna, Napoli, 1988, p. 129.
  17. ^ Scipione Volpicella, La crociera della chiesa dei Santi Severino e Sossio di Napoli, in Studi di letteratura, storia, e arti, Napoli, 1856, pp. 193, 196-201.
  18. ^ Maria Raffaella Pessolano, Il monastero napoletano dei Santi Severino e Sossio, Napoli, 1977, p. 54 nota 159, which trae dall' A.S.N., Mon. Soppr., fascio 1793, c. 27 della numerazione recente.
  19. ^ Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Monasteri soppressi, n. 1791, Carte della contessa di Saponara, cc. 110 ss.
  20. ^ Giacomo Racioppi, Storia dei popoli della Lucania e della Basilicata, vol. II, Roma 1889, p. 170
  21. ^ Scipione Volpicella, La crociera della chiesa, cit., pp. 196-201.
  22. ^ Roberto Pane, Il Rinascimento nell'Italia meridionale, vol. I, Milano 1975, p. 238
  23. ^ Scipione Volpicella, Memorie patrie. La chiesa dei Santi Severino e Sossio: pavimento della nave, in “La Carità”, XXIX, novembre 1881, pp. 781-802
  24. ^ Stanislao D'Aloe, in Napoli e i luoghi celebri delle sue vicinanze, Vol. I, Naples, 1845, Publisher G. Nobile, p. 235


  • Pietro de Stefano, Descrittione dei luoghi sacri della città di Napoli, Publisher Raymondo Amato, Naples, 1560, pp. 88–89,
  • Cesare D'Engenio Caracciolo, Napoli sacra Naples, per Ottavio Beltrano, 1623, p. 316-334.
  • Carlo de Lellis, Parte second o' vero Supplimento a Napoli sacra di Don Cesare D'Engenio Caracciolo, Naples per Roberto Mollo, 1654, p. 163.
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  • Germanico Patrelli, Memorie dei lavori di riparazione eseguiti in the church dei Padri cassinesi dei Santi Severino e Sossio di Napoli, progettati e diretti dal maggiore cavaliere Germanico Patrelli, Napoli, 1852;
  • Giovanni Battista Chiarini, in Carlo Celano, Notizie del bello dell'antico e del curioso della città di Napoli (1856–1860), a cura di Paolo Macry, vol. III, Napoli, Edizioni dell'anticaglia, 2000, pp. 728–732, accessibile in google libri;
  • Scipione Volpicella, La crociera of the church dei Santi Severino e Sossio di Napoli, in Studi di letteratura, storia, e arti, Napoli, 1856;
  • Gaetano Nobile, Un mese a Napoli: descrizione della città di Napoli e delle sue vicinanze divisa in XXX giornate, vol. II, Naples 1863, p. 473.
  • Gennaro Aspreno Galante, Memorie dell'antico cenobio lucullano di San Severino abate in Napoli, Naples, 1869.
  • Ferdinando Carafa, Notizie storiche intorno alla Chiesa dei santi Severino e Sossio, Napoli, 1876;
  • Bartolomeo Capasso, Monumenta ad neapolitani ducatus pertinentia, Naples, 1881;
  • Scipione Volpicella, Memorie patrie. The church dei Santi Severino e Sossio: pavimento della nave, in “La Carità”, XXIX, novembre 1881, pp. 781–802;
  • Nunzio Federico Faraglia, Memorie artistiche of the church benedettina dei Santi Severino e Sossio, in “Archivio Storico per le Province Napoletane”, III, 1887, pp. 235–252;
  • Giuseppe Molinaro, Santi Severino e Sossio, Naples, 1930;
  • Egildo Gentile, I benedettini a Napoli, in “Benedectina”, VII, 1-2, 1953, pp. 39–44;
  • Jole Mazzoleni, Il monastero benedettino dei Santi Severino e Sossio, Naples, 1964;
  • Maria Raffaella Pessolano, Il monastero napoletano dei Santi Severino e Sossio, Naples, 1977;
  • Jole Mazzoleni, L'Archivio del monastero benedettino dei Santi Severino e Sossio conservato presso l'Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Naples, 1984.

External linksEdit