Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

The site of this church with its tower and the adjacent Pontano Chapel is extremely rich in history, tradition, ancient religious cults and mythology. In the days of the city of Neapolis the area was dedicated to the cult of Artemis into whose legend the even more ancient worship of the Moon had been assimilated, a connection which is attested to today in the names of the surrounding streets (Vico del Sole - of the sun; Vico della Luna - of the moon). The temple of Artemis was replaced, on the orders of Bishop Pomponio, by a church in the first half of the 6th century and the building was later completed by the addition of the tower. The tower, a superb example of the architecture of the high Middle Ages, retains the pre-romanesque form of the original design and uses material taken from the earlier buildings. The baroque structure of the church as we see it today follows the design of Cosimo Fanzago, which, with its centralised plan and imposing dome form a part of the complex and expressive configuration of the city centre. The exquisite floor, paved in terracotta and ceramic tiles, is attributed to Giuseppe Massa (1764) and was restored in 1992.