San Francesco di Paola

Church in Naples

Basílica De San Francesco Di Paola, Nápoles
CC BY-SA 2.0 / "Diego Delso,

San Francesco di Paola stands as a monumental church located on the western side of Piazza del Plebiscito, the main square in Naples, Italy. Originally conceived in the early 19th century by King Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law, the structure and its surrounding square were intended as a grand tribute to the emperor. However, following the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, the construction, completed in 1816, was repurposed by Ferdinand I into the church visible today. He dedicated it to Saint Francis of Paola, who had previously resided in a monastery on the site during the 16th century.

Architecturally, the church mirrors the grandeur of the Roman Pantheon. It features a majestic façade with a portico supported by six columns and two Ionic pillars. Designed by Neapolitan architect Leopoldo Laperuta, the portico leads to a main building crafted by Swiss architect Pietro Bianchi. The interior of the church is circular and topped with a striking dome that reaches 53 meters (174 feet) in height, creating a dramatic and inspiring space.

Interior Art and Decorations of San Francesco di Paola

Inside San Francesco di Paola, visitors can admire an impressive array of artworks and statues that enhance its sacred and artistic value:

  • Statues: These include San Giovanni Crisostomo by Gennaro Calì, Sant’Ambrogio by Tito Angelini, St Luke by Antonio Calì, St Matthew by Carlo Finelli, St John the Evangelist by Pietro Tenerani, St Mark by Giuseppe de Fabris, Sant’Agostino by Tommaso Arnaud, and Sant’Attanasio by Angelo Solani.
  • Altarpieces: The chapels on the right house several significant works such as “San Nicola da Tolentino” and “St Francis of Paola Receives a Stem of Charity from an Angel” by Nicola Carta, “Final Communion of San Ferdinando di Castiglia” by Pietro Benvenuti, “Transit di St Joseph” by Camillo Gerra, and depictions of the “Immaculate Conception” and the “Death of Sant’Andrea Avellino” by Tommaso de Vivo.
  • Main Altar: Before the main altar is a 1641 artwork by Anselmo Cangiano, which was transferred here in 1835 from the church of the Santi Apostoli.
  • Apse Painting: The apse features a painting entitled “St Francis of Paola Resuscitates a Dead Man” by Vincenzo Camuccini.
  • Sacristy: The sacristy houses an “Immaculate Conception” by Gaspare Landi and a “Circumcision of Jesus” by Antonio Campi.

San Francesco di Paola not only serves as a place of worship but also as a repository of rich Neapolitan art and history, reflecting the city’s deep cultural heritage and the influences of its various rulers over the centuries.

The San Francesco di Paola appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Naples!

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Visiting San Francesco di Paola


Monday to Saturday: 6:45 am to 12 pm and 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Sundays: 8 am to 12 pm.



Address: San Francesco di Paola, Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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