The Monumental complex of Sant’Anna dei Lombardi was founded in 1411, with the name of Santa Maria di Monteoliveto, by Gurello Origlia, one of the most prominent men in the court of the king of Naples Ladislao di Durazzo, as well as his protonotary, who he took care of the construction of a church and an adjoining monastery to be entrusted to the Fathers of the Olivetan order. From Gurello Origlia, the Olivetans received not only economic support but also great prestige and fame among the city aristocracy; in a short time, the church became, in fact, the spiritual center of the Neapolitan nobility: having a chapel, an altar or a tomb in Monteoliveto was considered a symbol of high social status. At the time of its foundation, the monastic complex was located outside the city walls and the structure included four cloisters, dedicated to prayer and meditation, as well as various lands, used as an orchard and vegetable garden, for crops necessary for the sustenance of the entire community and for the production of medicinal herbs that the monks made in their laboratories and sold. Like all monasteries that arose and established themselves from the origins of monasticism onwards, that of Monteoliveto also took shape as a sort of autonomous micro-city. Some time after the foundation of the complex, in 1582, on the land of the Archconfraternity of the Pilgrims, and on that of the Olivetans themselves, a church was built on the wishes of the Lombard nation, dedicated to Sant’Anna. The work was directed by Domenico Fontana, papal architect of Sixtus V. This building, in 1798, following a collapse, was seriously damaged, only to be completely demolished after the earthquake of 1805, so that the Archconfraternity of the Lombardi obtained, in 1801, by Ferdinando IV, the sale of the church of Monteoliveto which, due to the suppression of the Olivetani Monastery in 1799, had been transferred to the state property. From that moment on, the Olivetano complex will lose its original connotation as a Monastery and will definitively take the name of Sant’Anna dei Lombardi.

Skip to content