Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele sign

 

Down a quiet and charming street in the city of Anacapri, high up on the island of Capri, you will find a pretty little sign pointing you toward the Chiesa Monumentale di San Michele. Heading down this side street takes you to a very small piazza dominated by a pretty church with a white facade. Inside is surely one of the greatest architectural treats on the Amalfi Coast and the surrounding islands. To visit the church you will need to pay €2, but it is certainly worth it for what you will find inside. Let me tempt you . . .

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele Exterior

 

Once you step inside a small vestibule and pay the small fee, you will be ushered directly into the church where you will see the exquisite majolica tile floor depicting the scene of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. I guarantee that it will take your breath away! As you walk around the octagonal church on the little wooden platform (you can’t walk on the floor!), you can admire the beautiful floor, the elaborate side chapels, and the high altar.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele Floor from above

 

The floor dates from 1761 and was created by Leonardo Chiaiese, one of the most important majolica artists from Abruzzo working in the Naples area in the 18th century. Once you walk all the way around, go back into the vestibule and climb a very narrow spiral staircase up to the gallery level. This offers the best views of the entire floor.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele Floor

 

Chiaiese filled the Garden of Eden with a variety of domestic animals, including goats and cows, and a selection of exotic animals, such as a jaguar, lion, monkeys, an elephant, some rather unidentifiable animals, and a beautiful unicorn. The animals are peaceful and go about their business seemingly unaware of the dramatic scene taking place in the center of the church.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele floor detail Detail of Eve and the angel sending her away

 

From above, you also have an excellent view of the beautiful high altar with a painting of Saint Michael the Archangel by Nicola Malinconico. The side chapels and altar feature works by important Neapolitan painters, including Francesco Solimena, Giacomo Del Po, and Paolo De Matteis.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele altarHigh Altar

 

The Chiesa di San Michele was built between 1698 and 1719, and is one of the best examples of Neapolitan architecture from this period. Its graceful dome and pale colors create an airy feeling making the church feel much larger than its small floor plan.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele architecture detail

 

Last Saturday I was able to visit the Chiesa di San Michele again for the first time in two years, and it reminded me that it is certainly one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. If you are heading soon to Anacapri, don’t miss this gem!

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12 Comments
  • Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura

    My first thought was I've never visited any Churches in Capri. How could I have forgotten this one!
    Great photos.
    I love Anacapri. You can escape the crowds there.
    Have a great birthday!!!!!

    June 23, 2009
  • katerinafiore

    OMG I was there!!! Gorgeous church!!!
    AUGURIIIIIII
    baci!!

    June 23, 2009
  • Anne in Oxfordshire

    Absolutely beautiful, how could you not fall in love with it..:-)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU have a super day, and thank you so much for sharing Amalfi and the coast with us !

    June 23, 2009
  • Lori

    Gorgeous! My good friend went to Capri for her honeymoon a couple years back and the pictures were just stunning. Looks like such a beautiful place. I'll make it there some day. 🙂

    It's your birthday?! Happy Birthday and enjoy every minute of it!

    June 23, 2009
  • Wanderlust Woman

    Cara, grazie per belli fotos.

    Do you know the legend of the Little Lucky Bell of San Michele?

    http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/luckybell.html

    I bought one for myself this past New Years Day on Capri. All good things come to those who believe.

    June 23, 2009
  • KC

    It's great to that there are well-preserved majolica pavements, so many of them have been irreparably damaged. If I ever go to Capri, I'll be sure to visit S. Michele.

    June 23, 2009
  • Barbara Jacksier

    Okay, one more place to add to my Must See list!I need to "meet" that amazing floor in person.

    June 24, 2009
  • Laura

    Ciao Scintilla! I especially like the part of Anacapri around this church. The streets are beautiful and much less crowded. Thank you for the birthday wishes! Welcome back to Positano! 🙂

    Ciao Katie! How amazing! I didn't know you had been down here to Capri. It is a gorgeous church! Thanks for the sweet birthday wishes! 🙂

    Ciao Anne! Funny you mention it, because I think I fell in love in that church! I will always have a very sentimental attachment to it. 🙂 Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes! And you are very, very welcome. I love it here and I love sharing that passion with others!

    Ciao Lori! What a lovely place to honeymoon! I do hope you can make it here some day. I know you would love it! Thanks… I did enjoy every moment! 🙂

    Ciao Lisa! Grazie! No, I didn't know about the lucky little bell of San Michele. Thanks for sharing! I will have to look for one next time I am there. I believe! 🙂

    Ciao KC! I knew you would enjoy seeing those photos. There are a couple of other churches on the Amalfi Coast with fairly well preserved majolica pavements. But, yes, so often they are almost completely worn away.

    Ciao Barbara! Definitely a must see. You won't be disappointed! 🙂

    June 24, 2009
  • Chef Chuck

    Wow, this floor is beautiful!
    Nice photos! Grazie 🙂

    June 25, 2009
  • Laura

    Ciao Chuck! Thanks!! 🙂

    June 25, 2009
  • michelle | bleeding espresso

    I think I'd be scared to walk on the floor! Gorgeous 🙂

    November 6, 2009
  • Laura

    Ciao Michelle! I think that explains why the floor has been so well preserved. It is just too beautiful to walk on! 🙂

    November 16, 2009

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