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Basilica di San Martino

Basilica Salento, Italy

UNESCO’s Monument of Peace Basilica di San Martino

The Basilica of San Martino represents the apex of the Baroque architecture of Martina Franca. The building was erected on behest of the archpriest Isidoro Chirulli, who in 1747 ordered the demolition of the previous Romanic three naves church in order to erect a new one in the Rococo style. The project was entrusted to an engineer from Bergamo called G. Mariani who lived in Martina, while the monumental sculpture, work of Giuseppe Morgese and Sons, originally from Bari, emphasizes the verticality of the façade and embellishes the interiors. The basilica was inaugurated on 22nd October 1775 by the bishop from Martina F.S. Stabile. The interior is characterized by a single Latin-cross nave which presents along its sides the noble chapels with altars and precious works of art. In the niche, situated on the spectacular high altar, the golden statue of the saint patron, San Martino from Tours stands out, realized by Stefano da Putignano. A breathtaking element is the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento, also called the Cappellone, erected between 1776 and 1785 on the left-hand side of the high altar. On the groined dome are painted the “Evangelisti” (1785), by Domenico Carella, who many years later also realized the painting of the “Ultima Cena” (1804). In front of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento it is possible to admire the basilica’s treasure, formed by precious liturgical furnishings of Neapolitan manufacture. From the previous Romanic structure, only the vestry and the bell tower remain. The latter is almost hidden by the bulk of the church, as its cusp and the top floor were cut off in 1775 because of earthquakes and lightnings.

Via Masaniello, 1, 74015 Martina Franca TA, Italy

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