The Collegiate Church of San Michele Arcangelo (Saint Michael the Archangel) is a place of worship located in Solofra, in the square of the same name that characterises the historic centre of the Irpinian town.
Built from 1522 onwards by the will of the Universitas Solofrana, in a historical period marked by the term "golden age" of the local tanning market, the Collegiate Church took the place of the pre-existing Parish Church of Sant'Angelo e Santa Maria, of Byzantine origin, in accordance with the urban development of the time. The religious building went through a very long construction phase and, during its history, has been the victim of several earthquakes and fires, including the one in 1721 that caused extensive damage to the Collegiate Church: it was after this episode that the structure changed its appearance considerably, changing its style from Renaissance to Baroque. Hit again by the earthquake of 23 November 1980, it was reopened for worship in 1986.
Today, the Collegiate Church of San Michele Arcangelo has a longitudinal Latin-cross plan, preceded by a splendid Baroque façade: the latter is accompanied by a Romanesque bell tower and respects the internal division into a nave and two aisles, marked by pillars with Ionic capitals supporting moulded frames. The three portals, created by Neapolitan craftsmen and narrating the events of Saint Michael the Archangel, are finely carved and crowned by three large windows, the largest of which is located above the main portal and decorated with shells on the upper part.
Once inside the Collegiate Church, the viewer's gaze lingers on the 42 canvases that characterise the wooden coffering, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, attributed to Giovanni Tommaso and Francesco Guarini (1611-1651) and embellished with a gold coating that also characterises the pulpit, the choir stalls with the organ and the altarpiece on the main altar. In addition to the sublime works of the two Solofran painters, the building also houses other masterpieces, such as the "Pentecost" by Angelo Solimena (1629-1716), above an altar in the right aisle, and the "Coronation of the Virgin" by Giovan Bernardo Lama (c. 1530-1630).
Finally, the Chapel of the Immacolata (Immaculate Conception), raised above the body of the Collegiate Church, as well as the crypt containing the Chapel of San Giuda Taddeo (Jude the Apostle), also contain interesting works of art.
A genuine jewel of Baroque art, the Collegiate Church of San Michele Arcangelo is considered one of the most beautiful and precious places of worship in Irpinia.
Collegiata di San Michele Arcangelo
Piazza San Michele, 83029, Solofra AV, Italia