The Church of Santa Croce in San Giacomo Maggiore, also known as the Church of the Carmelites (Chiesa dei Carmini) is a church in Vicenza, located in Piazza dei Carmini, near the end of Corso Antonio Fogazzaro.
In 1372, while the Scaligeri were enclosing the village of Porta Nova within the new western walls of Vicenza, the bishop Giovanni de Surdis started to build a new church in the center of the area, dedicated at first to San Giacomo Apostolo (Saint James the Apostle), and later to San Giacomo Maggiore (Saint James the Great).
Around the same time, the bishop entrusted the religious building to the Carmelite friars, and the church was commonly called Santa Maria dei Carmini (Saint Mary of Carmel).
To adapt to the needs of the developing village, the church was completely rebuilt in Gothic style, with three naves, between 1420 and 1425.
Between 1720 and 1730, the church was restored again and brought back to a single nave.
The Carmelites remained in the convent until 1806, when, after the Napoleonic decree suppressing the religious orders, they were expelled from Vicenza. The parish was merged with the neighboring one of Santa Croce.
In the mid-19th century, between 1862 and 1867, the church was brought to its present form, in Neo-Gothic style, with an exterior in terracotta and white stone, designed by the architect Friedrich Schmidt of the Imperial Academy of Vienna.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The exterior of the church is in red brick and white stone, with geometric designs. The side portal on Corso Fogazzaro, of white, red and gray limestone, dates back to the 15th century and comes from the Church of San Bartolomeo.
Above the door, there is a niche with a marble group representing the Virgin and Child between Saint Albert and Saint Paul, attributable to Giambattista Krone.
The interior, with a single nave and side chapels, has on the counter-facade an arch in soft stone, with three pillars. The 19th-century vault is frescoed with scenes of saints and evangelists.
The first altarpiece on the right, the Madonna and Child between Saints Sebastian and Anthony, is by Benedetto Montagna. That of the second altar, depicting the Eternal Father and the dead Christ, is attributed to Paolo Veronese.
On the right wall, there is the Chapel of the Virgin of Carmel, with a beautiful 18th-century Baroque altar. On the left side, the second altar contains The transport of Christ to the sepulcher, work of Jacopo and Francesco Bassano from 1580.
In the left apse, near the presbytery, a 1670 canvas by Giulio Carpioni depicts the Martyrdom of Saints James and Christopher.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Santa Croce in San Giacomo Maggiore is located about 1.2 kilometers away from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is a few meters away from the church, in Corso Fogazzaro 171a, on the bus Line 20.
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