Santa Maria della Pomposa Church

Santa Maria della Pomposa Church

It is one of the oldest churches in the city, with records dating back to 1153.

(Bare) Ownership: Municipality of Modena

Usufruct: Confraternity of Saint Sebastian

The church, which forms part of the complex called Aedes Muratoriana, is situated in the eponymous square and takes its name from the Abbey of Santa Maria Pomposa in the Po Delta, to which the parish chapel, built in the medieval walls of Modena, originally belonged. Traces of the medieval arched door can still be seen on the façad

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

The single nave church with flat apse and two chapels per side contains many works of interest. On the side walls between the columns are six paintings depicting scenes from the life of Saint Sebastian by the Modena-born painter Bernardino Cervi (1586 -1630).

In the chapel on the right-hand side of the church is the painting “Our Lady of Mercy” by an unknown author (18th century copy of the original located in Rimini). Again, in the first chapel on the right-hand side is a large crucifix (19th century) and the statue of Saint Rita da Cascia, venerated in the church, while on the altar is a frontal in scagliola of the Modena school (17th century).

Continuing along the right-hand side is a second chapel, home to the painting "Glory of Angles with Saints Louis and Lucia" by Biagio Magnanini (1776-1841) which contains, inside a silver frame, "Our Lady of the Stairs" (second half of the 17th century) from the nun’s convent of San Paolo. On the altar is a frontal in scagliola decorated with a central medallion depicting Saint Francis in prayer, attributed to the Carpi-born Giovanni Pozzoli (1646-1734).

The presbytery is home to the fine painting "Blessed Virgin enthroned with Saints Sebastian, Geminianus and Roch" by Jean Boulanger (1606-1660), a copy of the original by Correggio currently in Dresden. Behind the altar is a walnut wooden choir (first half of the 18th century), with an organ by the Ferrara-born Andrea Fedeli (1794) on the right-hand side.

On the left-hand side of the church, in the second chapel, is another painting by Bernardino Cervi "Our Lady and Saint Sebastian interceding with the Holy Trinity for the souls in Purgatory". On the altar is a frontal of Carpi origin in black and white, depicting the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian in the centre (second half of the 17th century).

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

Visible in the chapel is a small marble altarpiece dated 1625, with a devotional picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (19th century).

Opening hours

The church is open daily, Monday to Sunday, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm.

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Tickets and admission

Free entrance.