It is the best Rococo example of the Puglia region, thanks to the refinement of the elevation and the elegance of the decorative elements. The sacred building was erected between 1750 and 1752 on behest of the bishop Francesco Antonio Scoppa, based on a project by an unidentified Neapolitan engineer. Its construction was a consequence of the earthquake of 1743, which hit the old medieval church dedicated to San Vito, as well as the three adjacent palaces which belonged to the noble Patrelli family.
Next to the church there is the convent of the Monacelle, which was erected between 1710 and 1730, on behest of the bishop Cono Luchino del Verme. The convent was used by the Carmelitane up until a few decades ago and then, together with the church, it became property of the Municipality. The authority has started an intense valorisation and tutelage programme, aiming at turning the whole complex into a cultural container. Today the convent hosts the Museo delle Civiltà Preclassiche della Murgia Meridionale (The Museum of the Pre-Classical Civilizations of the Southern part of the Murgia area). The church’s façade is slightly undulating,and it shows numerous characteristics of the Rococo architecture. The portal is outlined by angular abutments surmounted by a trabeation with rinceaux. The coat of arm of the bishop Scoppa is highlighted on the portal and the carmelitani’s on the central niche. In axis with the portal, on the second order, there is a great, stained glass window with a rich moulding. The spandrel is defined by curved lines and Rococo elements. The final details of the structure are defined by two acroteria (decorative elements placed at the top or on the corners of the pediment), moulded on the corners, a bell tower on the left, slightly behind the façade, and a dome covered with coloured majolica tiles. In the interior, one can admire the exquisite decorative sculptures which characterise every single chapel, and especially the Rococo style lithic altars, which were realized by the sculptor Francesco Morgese, who was particularly busy within the Salento area.
The church and the museum are closed to restore.
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