NAME: Church of St. Maria del Lacco
In the Lacco district a church dedicated to St. Maria is attested from the late 11th century and was located on the right side of the ancient Porta de La Terra. It did not correspond to the present building, which was constructed on a church dedicated to St. Anthony, destroyed in 1437 during fratricidal wars between local communities, connected to the war episodes that affected South Italy for the succession to the Kingdom of Naples.
On the site of the destroyed church, a small, single-nave temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary with the toponymic specification “de Lacco” was rebuilt during the 15th century.
In 1577, the high altar featured a painting of the Virgin and Saints Sebastian and Rocco, while on the right was one dedicated to St. Anthony.
During the 18th century, the church underwent considerable transformations, attributed to the parish priest Romualdo Guerrasio.
The high altar – in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept – was surmounted by a canvas, still visible today, depicting the Assumption in the center, with Saints Charles Borromeo, Romualdo, Onofrio and Luigi Gonzaga at the sides, made in 1754 by Bonaventura Deliani from Amalfi. Another one, made in 1768, housed the fresco, which still exists today, depicting Our Lady of Grace (Madonna delle Grazie), with Saints Sebastian and Lucia on either side, transported from the church of St. Augustine on January 6, 1769, the day on which “the Epiphany of the Lord was solemnized.”
The sacristy had been created using an old house with a mill, adjacent to the church, and purchased in 1749 for the sum of thirteen ducats. The church, moreover, could count on a fair number of liturgical furnishings, many of them purchased or restored by Don Romualdo, such as a confessional made in 1764 by the shipwright Angiolo Antonio Guerrasio and decorated by Pasquale Grimaldi from Amalfi.
Two bells were placed on the bell tower: one bearing the image of the Virgin with the Divine Infant in her arms and the inscription “Sancta Maria Sancte Pantaleon”, the other made in 1684 in devotion to the pro-tempore parish priest, Alessandro Di Lieto, and the Magnifico Domenico Capezza, father of Don Natale, who was parish priest of that community until 1731, the year of his death.
At the end of the eighteenth century, by the painter Pietro Coppola, ovals were made depicting Saints Catherine, Lamb, Vitus and George, owners of the benefices and chapels attached to St. Maria del Lacco in 1608.
In the early decades of the 19th century, Marcantonio Guerrasio made the factory orchestra where the organ is placed, which came from the Holy Trinity monastery, from which the statue of St. Louis was also transported.
In the early twentieth century, during the time of parish priest Don Pantaleone, the Congregation of the Luigini was founded at the parish church, consisting of children who dedicated themselves to liturgical service.
In ancient times, the parish festivity in honor of the Assumption, was held on August 16, while the Nativity of the Virgin Mary has been celebrated annually on the Sunday after September 8 since the 19th century. A feast to which sailor Andrea Mansi of Ravello, who was slaughtered by the Germans at the entrance to Naples’ “Federico II” University on Sept. 12, 1943, was also particularly attached.
SEE, VISIT, FIND: open during the celebrations (by contacting the parish priest).
FRUITION DATA: none
OPPORTUNITIES: one could present the structures with exterior panels so that the church is always accessible to visitors. Similar evidence, often little known, would be better enhanced by a tour itinerary (possibly guided) dedicated to the religious architecture of Ravello.
BIBLIOGRAFIA: FULCHIGNONI G., Ravello. Le cento chiese, Amalfi 2001
IMPERATO G., Ravello nella storia civile e religiosa,Cava d. T. 1990
MANSI L., Ravello sacra-monumentale, Ravello 1887