Tours to Chiesa di Sant'Irene
Private Tour: Lecce Guided Walking Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $216
Duration: 2 hours
Lecce. Journey to discover a charming baroque BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $46
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
Best of Lecce walking tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $84
Duration: 2 hours
Chiesa di Sant'Irene reviews
The saint was a courageous lady who was martyred for her faith. The church has many detailed and beautiful carvings and sculptures n frescoes. I particularly loved the singing on the right with many..... more »
After the visual overkill of the inside of the duomo, the inside of st. Irene is far more subdued and relaxing. There is still swathes of baroque plasterwork, but it is more uniformly pale and in a... more »
The church was built starting from 1591 on the project of the Francesco Grimaldi from Turin and was completed in 1639, the year of the consecration by the Bishop of Brindisi. The church experienced important historical events: in 1797 it was visited by King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon; in October 1860 it hosted the plebiscite operations to decide the yes of Lecce to enter the Kingdom of Italy. In 1866 the annexed convent of the Theatines was suppressed, but the church remained open for worship. The parish community celebrates its patron Irene on May 5th. The building refers to the model of the Basilica of Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome, where Grimaldi himself worked. The façade is made up of a double order system, punctuated by overlapping pilasters connected by festoons. The columns are spaced out in the lower order by empty niches and cartouches and in the upper order by a large window. The central space of the lower order houses the portal, surmounted by the stone statue of Saint Irene, by Mauro Manieri from 1717. Above the string course frame stands the civic emblem of the city of Lecce. The façade is crowned by a triangular tympanum bearing the insignia of the order of the Theatines. The Latin dedication to the patron saint Irene virgini et martiri (Irene virgin and martyr) is engraved on the entablature. The interior has a Latin cross plan, with a single nave open at the sides by three deep chapels communicating with each other and characterized by elliptical domes. On the left side there are the altars of St. Stephen, which houses the painting with the Stoning of St. Stephen, by Antonio Verrio, of the Crucifix and of the Virgin of the Good Council. In the left arm of the transept there are three altars: the altar of Saint Oronzo, built around the middle of the seventeenth century by Francesco Antonio Zimbalo, uncle of Giuseppe Zimbalo; the altar of Saint Irene (1639) which houses nine busts of saints which each contain the relics of the depicted religious, while above is the statue of Saint Irene surmounted by the coat of arms of Lecce; the altar of the Holy Family built in 1672. The apse houses the main altar altered in 1753. On the wall is a painting depicting The Transport of the Holy Ark, a masterpiece by Oronzo Tiso. In the right arm of the transept there are three other altars: the altar of the Guardian Angel dating back to 1700; the altar dedicated in 1651 to St. Gaetano of Thiene by the archbishop of Otranto Gaetano Cassa, which houses the oil painting depicting the founder of the Teatini order, created by Filippo Maria Galletti ; the altar of Saint Andrew Avellino, in the Rococo style. In the chapels on the right side there are the altars of St. Charles Borromeo, of the archangel Michael, built by Cesare Penna in 1642, and the altar of the Souls of Purgatory with a recent painting by Luigi Scorrano. The church's sacristy houses other paintings, including that of the Madonna della Libera.
The main portal is surmounted by the statue of St. Irene. Above the cornice Spandrel stands the civic coat of arms of the city of Lecce. On the left beam is engraved the Latin dedication to the patron saint. Inside, a single nave, there are numerous Baroque altars, including the one dedicated to the saint.
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