Sant'Eligio Maggiore is a church built in Neaples (Via Sant'Eligio) during the Angioin domination; its construction, the first example of gothic style in Naples, has been realized by three french knights (Giovanni Datun, Guglielmo Borgognone and Giovanni Lions) who were Carlo I d'Aragona's relatives in 1270.
At the beginning the construction was a hospital for french soldiers and poor sick people and it was consecrated to Sant Eligio with the approval of Algerio, the Neaples's archbishop. The entire complex has been under the protection of the royal family, initially under the kingdom of Giovanna I d'Angiò, then under Giovanna II d'Angiò and Alfonso I d'Aragona. In the first half of the XVI century, the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo established there the “Educandato femminile", a convent boarding school; this construction was called "Conservatorio per le vergini" (The virgins' academy) because it welcomed the orphan maidens from the church of Santa Caterina della Spina Corona, to whom were offered the notions to become nurses, in order to let them work in the nearby hospital.
This change entailed the removal of all the males from the Educandato. In 1591 the structure has been used as a popshops, abolished by Gioacchino Murat in 1806. In the last century the church has been reconciled after a massive restauration that restored the building's structure, highly damaged during the war events of the 1943.
- Photos by Edoardo Caporusso (December 2011)
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- G. Vitolo - R. Di Meglio, L'Ospedale di Sant'Eligio e la piazza del Mercato, in "Napoli angioino-aragonese: confraternite, ospedali, dinamiche politico-sociali", Salerno 2003, pp. 39-176.
- Francesco Ceva Grimaldi, Della città di Napoli dal tempo della sua fondazione sino al presente, Napoli 1857, pp. 112-113.