It was erected in the 14th century in a place donated to the Order of the Minor Friars. During the second half of the 18th century, after the 1743 earthquake which had deeply damaged the primitive, medieval church, it was rebuilt by an architect from Ostuni, Gaetano Iurleo.
The façade portrays the neoclassical style of the town abode, a former Franciscan convent. The sombre element of the Neoclassicism is in many aspects softened by the Rococo, curvilinear and fanciful shapes. Both the pilasters and the mouldings of the portal, niches, and mullioned window are richly decorated with naturalistic elements, spirals, festoons and conches.
The mullioned window’s framework is also valuable; it creates the sinuous effect of a small, twisted column, thanks to a fanciful weave of rinceaux. The most representative saints of the Franciscan Order are located in the niches. The statue of San Francesco with the wolf is located on the left, whereas on the right there is Sant’Antonio in a charitable act.
The bronze portal was realized by the Roman artist Egidio Giarolo in 1985, and it reproduces the most significant episodes of the life of the saint from Assisi.
The Latin cross interior is formed by a single nave, illuminated by the eight oval openings of the dome. The painting by the school of Luca Giordano, the 18th century, wooden statue of the Immacolata by Giacomo Colombo, and the marble altars by the Morgese brothers from the Puglia area, or by the Neapolitan masters, are among the numerous artefacts worth a mention. The high altar dominates all the others, and it is characterized by colourful, marble inlays and by mixtilinear cornices alternated by volutes. Two candle bearing angels, ascribed to an 18th century Neapolitan sculptor, are placed on the high altar’s horns; they are part of a context animated by graces with elegant moves.
The church overlooks the magnificent piazza Libertà.
AA.VV. (2000), Guida di Ostuni, Lecce, Lecce, Congedo Editore, 1. ed.
Tanzarella, A. (1989), Ostuni ieri, Fasano (Br), Schena Editore.
Sozzi, A. (2008), Ostuni nella storia, Fasano (Br), Schena Editore.