chiesa s antoniomaria delle grazie3 (1457345230)
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St. Anthony’s Parish

Due to a prodigious escape of the statuette of the Saint from Padua, the Church of Our Lady of Graces, whose construction probably dates back to around 1600, was renamed after St. Anthony.

With the aim of distributing more evenly the churches already concentrated in the number of five in the old town, in an ever-expanding Monopoli, Monsignor Nicola Monterisi, bishop of the diocese, transferred the parish of SS. Salvatore to the church of S. Antonio in 1919, under a royal decree of the same year. This is the former convent church of the Observant Friars Minor, which, after the expulsion of the friars in 1853, was handed over by the State to the municipality along with the Convent Square, formerly used as a parade ground for military exercises; today it has been turned into a public garden, where there is a memorial stone in memory of the famous Monopoli musician Orazio Fiume (1908-1976).

The interior of the church has a single nave with side chapels to which the wealthiest families of Monopoli contributed, building altars, commissioning paintings and erecting marble tombs. The first on the right is known as the Piccigalli Chapel; next is the Cortes Chapel, a family of Spanish origin, followed by the Palmieri Chapel. It houses the 'St. Anthony' by Costantino da Monopoli. The fourth chapel is dedicated to St Paschal Baylon, remembered by a wooden statue. The last one is called the Sforza Chapel. On the other side are the Ghezzi Chapels, the Chapel of the Passion housing a 16th century wooden sculpture, the Taveri Chapel, and the Isplues Chapel, another family originally from Spain. In the presbytery is a 16th century painting of the Venetian school depicting the 'Madonna delle Grazie' to whom the church was originally dedicated.

In the church, the painting of St Anthony by Costantino da Monopoli is certainly of great importance. During the World War, following a bombardment by an Austrian ship, the bell tower was partly destroyed, but still stands today thanks to the rebuilding work ordered by the parish priest of the time, Don Vito Bini.

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CREDITS: Comune di Monopoli.

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