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Basilica of Gesù Vecchio

Nestled in the historic heart of Naples, Italy, on Giovanni Paladino Street, stands the Basilica of Gesù Vecchio, a testament to the city’s rich religious and artistic heritage. This venerable basilica, distinguished as the first Jesuit church in Naples, began its construction in 1555, marking a significant chapter in the city’s religious landscape.

Architectural Splendor and Artistic Riches

The Basilica of Gesù Vecchio, renowned for its baroque façade crafted by Giovan Domenico Vinaccia in the late seventeenth century, captivates visitors with its slightly convex shape. At its center, a grand entrance door is crowned by a large rectangular window, inviting the faithful and art enthusiasts alike. Inside, the basilica’s Latin cross design, featuring a single nave and side chapels, houses an array of stunning art.

The main altar of the Basilica of Gesù Vecchio is a focal point of devotion, housing a revered sculpture of the Immaculate Conception. The basilica is particularly famous for the Feast of the Privileged Saturday, falling on the first Saturday after December 30th. This tradition, dating back to 1826, honors the Madonnina, crowned by the Vatican Chapter and declared Protectress of Naples, Italy.

The Procession and Tradition of Privileged Saturday

The tradition of Privileged Saturday, initiated by Don Placido Baccher, continues to draw pilgrims even after almost two centuries. During this day-long procession, which weaves through the streets surrounding the Basilica of Gesù Vecchio, pilgrims ascend the stairs to the Madonna, seeking intercession or expressing gratitude for blessings received.

The inception of this tradition stems from Don Placido Baccher’s deep veneration for the Immaculate Conception, credited with liberating him from imprisonment and a death sentence. His dedication established a legacy that endures, binding the community in a shared spiritual journey.

Visiting the Basilica of Gesù Vecchio

For travelers and history enthusiasts planning a trip to Naples, Italy, a visit to the Basilica of Gesù Vecchio is a journey into the heart of Neapolitan religious and artistic expression. It offers a unique glimpse into the city’s soul, where history, art, and tradition converge.

The Basilica is not just a religious site; it’s a cultural landmark that embodies the spirit of Naples. Its artistic treasures and rich traditions make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to experience the depth of Naples’ historical and cultural tapestry.

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