• About

    The Church of Santa Maria Vergine del Monte Carmelo, or shorter the Church of Carmine, is a beautiful church in Ostuni, located near the southeastern border of the historical center of the city.

     

    SHORT HISTORY

    The Carmelite Convent in Ostuni, dedicated to Santa Maria della Misericordia, was built in the second half of the 15th century outside the city walls. The convent had a simple, square-shaped form, with a garden in the middle.

    The adjacent church was built between 1590 and 1593 by the master masons Nicola Francesco de Marseglia and Matteo de Molendinis, assuming the title of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo.

    Around the middle of the 17th century, the church had twelve chapels decorated by wealthy citizens, but in 1775 the chapels were reduced to six, plus two minor ones.

    In the first half of the 18th century, some renovation works were carried out by the architect Giuseppe Fasano, especially in the presbytery area and in the side chapels.

    In 1810, following the suppression of the Carmelite order in the Kingdom of Naples, the church was entrusted to the care of the Carmine confraternity, active since the 16th century. In 1819, the Carmelites returned to their home in Ostuni.

    In 1840, the master masons Pietro Saponaro and Francesco Antelmi were commissioned to verify the condition of the church and to execute important restoration works. In 1854, the church was re-consecrated.

    In 1861, the property of the convent, following the new suppression of religious orders, passed to the civic administration. In 1870, the convent was used as an orphanage.

     

    ART AND ARCHITECTURE

    The current facade of the church dates back to 1891, when it was built by the architect Gaetano Jurleo. Articulated by four Corinthian semi-columns resting on plinths, the facade is enlivened by two niches that house the sculptures with representation of the Carmelite Saints Eligio and Eliseo, and crowned by an architrave on which there is a tympanum full of sculptural works and a gable with the inscription CAPUT TUUM UT CARMELUS (your head is like Carmel).

    The bronze door, made in 1980 by the Vitali brothers from Foligno, reproduces the coats of arms of the city of Osutni and of the Carmelite confraternity.

    Despite the 18th-century and 19th-century interventions, the church preserves the ancient layout with a single nave and three apses, with clear Renaissance lines. The paintings, comissioned by the Carmelites, are mostly late 18th-century. They present references both to the Neapolitan tradition and to the Venetian one for the chromatic rendering.

    As you enter the church, the first altar on the right is dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo (Saint Michael the Archangel). The second altar is dedicated to Saint Lucia, represented in her typical iconography. The third altar is dedicated to the Madonna del Carmine, whose painting is inside a stucco medallion.

    On the left side of the church, in the first altar, is a painting representing the Madonna with Sant’Anna and San Gioacchino (Saint Joachim). In the second altar on the left, there is a painting representing a Crucifixion, the work of Agostino Ayroldi. In the third altar on the left, there is an Ecstasy of Saint Teresa of Avila.

    In the apse area, there is the stone sculpture of the Madonna del Carmine by Giuseppe Greco, the author of the Spire of Sant’Oronzo from the Piazza della Libertà.

     

    HOW TO GET THERE

    The church is located about 200 meters away from the main square of the city, Piazza della Libertà. If you want to find it on foot, use the map below.

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