Church of St. Maria del Gesù - Trapani

Church of St. Maria del Gesù

The Franciscan church is one of the most significant in the old town for its attractive late-Gothic form. It was built in the 16th century, at the expense of the Treasury of the Observant Friars who had been deprived of their original church of Santa Maria dei Greci in 1535 (it was demolished to allow for the enlargement of the city wall). Therefore they took care of the construction of a new church and convent on the site once occupied by the Venetian consulate and St. Mark’s chapel.

The current church has a gabled façade, with visible stone cuttings and an arched portal; another portal of Catalan-Gothic style, with an architrave bearing a low relief of the Annunciation (sec. XV), is located on the south side of the church.

It has the typical basilical ground-plan with three naves separated by pillars, with wooden roof trusses; the central apse has a ribbed umbrella vault. On the right side of the apse is a square Renaissance chapel (with a domed Arabic-style angled roof) with a fine Virgin and Child, made of glazed earthenware by Andrea della Robbia (15th century).

The relief, framed by heads of angels and garlands of fruit and flowers, is placed under a marble canopy by Antonello Gagini (1516), decorated with plant motifs, in classical style. In the chapel there are also 16th century sarcophagi of Mr. Iacopo and Mrs. Margherita Staiti.