Duomo di San Matteo – The Crypt

December 2, 2010 / Art & Archaeology
Salerno, Campania
(related to this note…)

There are many places in Italy where a ‘wow!’ cannot be suppressed and I defy you to descend into the crypt of the Salerno Cathedral without uttering one.

Domenico Fontana was charged with restoring the crypt in the 1680s and later in the 18th century Neapolitan Francesco Ragozzino worked his wonders in marble. The brief was to create a space worthy of holding the remains of evangelist, St. Matthew, along with those of local saints Fortunato, Gaio, Ante and Felice, martyred under Diocletian in the 4th century.

The evangelist’s tomb itself can be seen through a grill – no trace remains today of the Manna di S. Matteo. Until 1830 this odourless, clear liquid sweated out of the saint’s relics and was reputed to have miraculous properties. ‘Wow’ swiftly followed by (a most respectful) ‘yuck’.

Above the tomb is a 1605 bronze statue of Matthew. It has two faces, giving rise to the saying San Matteo ha due facce, a reputation which then extended to every person from Salerno!

Paintings by Belisario Corenzio embellish the ceilings in charming mannerist style. The wedding at Canaa could almost be a scene from a local restaurant…

Penny Ewles-Bergeron

by Penny Ewles-Bergeron

Author, artist… celebrating the many good things in Naples.

8 Responses to “Duomo di San Matteo – The Crypt”

  1. Gian Banchero

    Great building!! Thank you. No matter how hard I try I can’t make out what the folks in the fresco are eating. Meatballs, polenta???

  2. Anna Marie

    Absolutely beautiful although the pictures don’t do it justice. A must see if you make it to Italy.

  3. Dominick Cassano

    What a magnificent cathedral.Thanks for sending it ! My grand parents came from this region and how wonderful it would be to know if they were blessed to see this beautiful church.

  4. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    It’s a real joy this church – so much to experience.
    Not sure what the guests are eating at the wedding; it does look very appealing and the fleur-de-lys tablecloth is gorgeous. This is only one of the many lively paintings in the crypt.


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