In a journey of discovery into the mysteries and the religious traditions of the Venezia Nuova quarter, we will take you to the churches of San Ferdinando and Santa Caterina, guardians of the practices and popular faith of the residents of this unique place suspended between land and sea.
In a quarter of the city reclaimed from the sea by the visionary will of the Medici family, we will visit the church of San Ferdinando, popularly known as the Crocetta because of the bicolor cross that was the symbol of the Trinitarian brothers who erected the church in 1707. Among the striking baroque stuccos and the sculpted works of art of Giovanni Baratta we will explain the works of the Trinitarians who for centuries were responsible for the ransoming of Christian slaves captured by moors. A striking symbol of this heritage is the central altarpience, which in place of the usual crucifix, features Baratta’s arresting sculpture of writhing slaves, “Gli schiavi liberati.” This crucial responsibility of the Trinitarians remains to this day a point of reference for the entire quarter, both for non-believers and those loyal to the Catholic church.
If one continues across the bridges over the Medici canals one arrives at the imposing church of Saint Catherine of Siena “of the Dominicans,” whose construction began in 1720. The towering octagonal dome, in all its 63 meters, still stands watch over the quarter, projecting its shadow across the terraces of the nearby Medici fortress. The expansive frescoed cupola opens out into five chapels, each commemorating a particular event or tradition. One chapel features the statue of the Christ of the Pietà, at whose feet generations of local residents prayed for intercessions; in another, the first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, had her conversion to Catholicism.
The church houses the reliquary of the Saint Viglia, co-patron of Livorno, and also features a stunning coronation of the Virgin Mary by Giorgio Vasari alongside its 16th century central altar. We will enter areas of the church normally off-limits to the public, for example the Sacristy, one of the finest examples of Livornese baroque, and there we will access a part of the old Dominican convent which houses antique clergy vestments and other sacred objects. We will also have the opportunity to climb up into the terraces of the dome, from which one can admire the Medici canals which wind through the quarter. To conclude the tour, we will visit the subterranean section of the church, where, hidden away among the underground pillars and vaults we are sepulchral crypts recently rediscovered in 2001.
Durata : 2 h circa *
Costo : 120 € + 3 € a persona
* Da intendersi come durata del tour standard. I tempi possono essere ridotti o aumentati a vostra richiesta compatibilmente con la tipologia di tour.