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Church of Christ of the Sods

The church known as the Church of Christ of the Clods was built starting in 1652 over a small crypt carved into the cliff where a miraculous crucifix was depicted, the object of a very strong devotion by the citizens of Monopoli, Castellana and Fasano. The foundation stone was laid in a solemn ceremony presided over by the Abbot Giacinto Sforza, Archdeacon and Vicar, in the presence of the authorities, the mayor Niccoló Palmieri, and with the participation of numerous forastieri, especially from Castellana and Fasano. In 1654, the church was completed and the Royal Chamber of Summaria was asked to grant franchises for a market to be held annually on 2, 3 and 4 May. The building, of unusual size, monumentality and architectural quality for a rural church, stands out majestically among the olive trees. The Baroque architecture is tempered by strict lines of late 16th century inspiration. The façade is punctuated by pilasters, while the interior space, set on a Latin cross plan, is enriched by complex volumetries. The church, for years in total abandonment, has recently undergone extensive structural restoration. The works were aimed at reusing the building as a Space for the Arts. The theatrical space was substantially articulated around two poles; the outer one, set in the olive grove, is inspired by the scheme of classical theatre, with the audience placed in a semicircle oriented towards the stage, which in this case is the church façade. The second pole is the interior space, where a special octagonal movable stage, positioned under the large dome, allows for a range of solutions from the traditional 19th century theatre with the stage in front of the audience, to the theatre with the stage in the centre surrounded by the audience, according to the criteria of the total theatre (Gropius, Berlin, 1930s). The project allows for various possibilities of interaction between audience and actors. These may come from the apse, from the depths of the crypt, from the main door or from the organ balcony above, depending on the needs of the performance.

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CREDITS: Comune di Monopoli.

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