Saint Joseph of Barefoot Carmelite church “la Misericordia”


The Church of Saint Joseph was built by architect Francesco Gallo (1672-1750) between 1709 and 1717 for the Barefoot Carmelite Order, who dedicated it to St. Joseph. In 1802, following the Napoleonic suppression, the fathers abandoned the church and the annexed convent. Since 1861 the church has been run by the Confraternity of St. Anthony the Abbot and St. John the Beheaded, and is known as “La Misericordia” (Church of Mercy) in view of its charitable work. Like the whole building, the façade is of exposed brick and is deliberately simple without specific decoration. The architectural structure of the building is, however, very impressive and well-integrated into the urban context, as you can appreciate by looking down from the top of the street, Vicolo delle Cappuccine. The interior is quite small with the apse area extending lengthways and the central area in width. The paintings in the apse and in the dome are influenced by the strong unity of purpose and close cooperation by two artists employed by architect Francesco Gallo: the illusory and perspective artist Pietro Antonio Pozzo and the figure painter Giovanni Francesco Gagini di Bisone. Among the other conserved work to be admired are the sixteen 17th century canvases which run along the perimeter featuring episodes from the life of St. Theresa of Avila, the founder of the Carmelites.

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