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Basilica di San Francesco di Paola
Modelled after the Pantheon of Rome, la Basilica di San Francesco di Paola was commissioned by King Ferdinando I upon the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy, immediately following the end of the "French Decade". The Neoclassical basilica was designed by the Swiss architect, Pietro Bianchi, and completed in 1824 on the site of the convent of San Francesco di Paola (hence the name of the church). The convent had been demolished in 1809 by the French King Gioacchino (Joachim) Murat, brother-in-law of Napoléon, to make room for the grand piazza opposite Palazzo Reale, which was to become the city's main square, then called Largo di Palazzo. The architect, Leopoldo Laperuta, was appointed to design the semicircular colonnade which flanks the basilica. Although the French decade ended and the square's name changed to Piazza del Plebiscito, Gioacchino's plans have survived: the spacious piazza has become one of the most important in the city where public celebrations and take place.
- Historical Travel
Basilica of San Francesco di Paola
This Basilica is similar to St Peter's in Rome, and is close by to numerous other attractions on foot. In front of the basilica is a large piazza with the Royal Palace on the other side. Unfortunately the building and the statues of the basilica were laden with graffiti and also dog poo at the kerbs, which was quite unsightly.
Church of San Francesco di Paola
The Church of San Francesco di Paola was built as an offering from Ferdinando di Borbone after his return from exile in Palermo during the french occupation. The project was drawn up by the architect Pietro Bianchi in 1816. The church, inaugurated in 1816, was given the title of Papal Basilica by Pope Gregory XVI. The Basilica itself is preceded by a pronaos comprising of ten columns, which hold up a tympanum at the top of which a statue of Religion rests. The church is circular in shape and it is covered by an impressive dome, which is styled on the Pantheon, with lacunars and rosettes carved from limestone. The internal perimeter is ringed by 32 fluted columns with Corinthian capitols through which six side chapels can be seen. On the walls of the apse one can enjoy a painting by Vincenzo Camuccini depicting San Francesco di Paola tending to young Alessandro. It was painted in 1830 at the request of Francesco
Open Hours: 7:30a-noon & 3:30p-6p M-F, 8:30a-12:30p holidays
Church of San Francesco di Paola
Ferdinando I had the church built in 1817 as a thankyou offering for the reconquest of his kingdom after ten years of French control. Work was begun by Pietro Bianchi who recreated the forms of the Roman Pantheon, in full neogothic style. Inside, statues and paintings of the same period can be seen, as well as the high altar, whose origin is in the 17th century. The doric hemicycle, built by order of Joachim Murat in 1810, extends from the church and embraces half the piazza with great scenic effect. In the centre of the piazza are equestrian statues of Charles III of Bourbon, by Antonio Canova, and of Ferdinando I, of which the horse is Canova's work.
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