Church of Santa Maria della Pomposa

Church of Santa Maria della Pomposa

Piazzetta Pomposa - Modena - MO - 41121


The church opens every day, from Monday to Sunday, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 to 7.00 pm.

Part of the set of buildings called Aedes Muratoriana, this church is in the square of the same name, both called after the abbey of Santa Maria Pomposa in the Po delta, on which the parish chapel originally depended. Built inside the medieval walls of Modena, it is one of the city’s oldest churches, first mentioned in 1153. Traces of the arched medieval door can still be seen on the façade.

In 1716, Duke Rinaldo I d'Este handed the building over to his librarian Lodovico Antonio Muratori (1672-1750), a historian and scholar known throughout Europe. Rebuilding of the church started in 1717 and new furnishings were added by Muratori himself, who was parish priest here from 1716 until his death in 1750. Deconsecrated in 1774, the church was reconsecrated in 1814 thanks to the Confraternity of Saint Sebastian. Muratori’s remains were brought here in 1922.

The church is a single volume with flat apse and two chapels on each side, and it contains many interesting works of art. Six paintings depicting the Life of Saint Sebastian by the Modena painter Bernardino Cervi (1586 -1630) hang on the side walls between the columns.

In the small chapel on the right-hand side of the church, there is the painting entitled “Our Lady of Mercy” by an unknown artist (an eighteenth-century copy of the original, in Rimini).

Again on the right-hand side, in the first chapel, there is a large nineteenth-century crucifix and the statue of Saint Rita of Cascia, who is worshipped in this church, while the altar has a seventeenth-century frontal in scagliola of the Modena school.

Further down on the right-hand side, a second chapel houses the painting Glory of Angels with Saint Louis and Saint Lucia” by Biagio Magnanini (1776-1841), in the centre of which, behind a silver frame, is “Our Lady of the Stairs” from the second half of the seventeenth century, which originally hung in the convent of the nuns of Saint Paul. On the altar, a frontal in scagliola is decorated with a central medallion depicting Saint Francis in prayer, attributed to Giovanni Pozzoli from Carpi (1646-1734).

In the Presbytery there is the fine painting “Blessed Virgin on the throne with the Saints Sebastian, Geminianus and Roch” by Jean Boulanger (1606-1660), a copy of the original by Correggio, in Dresden.

The choir stalls behind the altar are in walnut wood and date back to the first half of the eighteenth century. The right-hand choir houses an organ by Andrea Fedeli (1794) from Ferrara.

On the left-hand side of the church, the second chapel houses another painting by Bernardino Cervi “Our Lady and Saint Sebastian interceding with the Holy Trinity for the souls in Purgatory”. The altar has a frontal of Carpi manufacture in black and white, depicting, at its centre, the martyr of Saint Sebastian (second half of the seventeenth century).

Again on the left-hand side, in the first chapel, there is the sarcophagus of Lodovico Antonio Muratori, topped by a marble monument placed here in 1931, by the Milanese sculptor Lodovico Pogliaghi.

A small marble altarpiece can be seen in the little chapel, dated 1625, with a devotional picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (nineteenth century).