Noble Chapel

The small monumental complex of the church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, with oratory, sacristy and chaplain’s house, is in front of the Castle’s entry tower. It can be visited on request.

Although altered in the 19th century, the church still adheres fairly much to the original, late 15th-century design.
On the altar there is an altarpiece attributed to Pietro Lombardo or his school divided into three parts - Virgin and Child in the centre, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Francis at the sides - with a tympanum in which the Eternal Father is portrayed surrounded by cherubs. At the side of the altar is the access door to the sacristy where, in the arched pediment, the Dead Redeemer is sculpted in high relief, supported by two angels.


In the middle, on the richly decorated floor, is the stone slab of Francesco’s grave, the Generale Collaterale of the Venetian Republic, laid by his nephew Giovanni, his accomplice in military duties and heir to the Thiene properties in 1554, who was himself buried here in 1578, together with his uncle.

In 1887, probably at the end of the 19th-century ‘restorations’ to the church, Guardino Colleoni had the funeral monument of Teresa Colleoni (1821-1842) brought here from Cortenuova (Bergamo). It is a work of excellent quality by Gaetano Matteo Monti made in 1844 and awarded at the Brera exhibition.


On the right wall is a stone laid by Antonio Thiene, cousin and heir, in memory of Guardino. On the left wall is a bust in Carrara marble by the famous sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini (Prato, 1777-Florence, 1850) of Orazio Colleoni Porto (1796-1848), first of this branch and heir to Giovanni Battista Orazio Porto in 1816.


There is a portrait of San Gaetano Thiene (1480-1547) in the church, a 17th-century painting of the Veneto school.
Gaetano was the son of Gaspare and Maria Porto; he was named Gaetano in memory of his Canon uncle (born in Gaeta, a renowned professor of philosophy at Padua, who died in 1465).


He graduated in Padua in civil and canon law (1504), then entered the Roman curia (1506) as an apostolic protonotary and was ordained priest in 1516. He joined the Oratory of Divine Love and directed its societies in Vicenza (where it supported the Ospedale della Misericordia), Verona and Venice, where he founded (1522) the Ospedale degli Incurabili (syphilitics).


He gave up his positions and benefices and founded the first congregation of Regular Clergymen (the Theatine Fathers) with Gian Pietro Carafa (in 1555 made pope with the name Paul IV), with the aim - preceding the Council of Trent - of restoring the original rule of apostolic life to the Church, expressing a desire for renewal of the ecclesiastical life. In 1527 Charles V’s troops sacked Rome; Gaetano and his co-brothers fortunately reached Venice where he lived at San Nicolò dei Tolentini. Assigned to Naples (1533), he founded the first Theatine House and the Monte di Pietà (1539) from which the Banco di Napoli traces its origins.                                He died there on 7 August 1547 and is buried in San Paolo Maggiore where a tomb was erected with the inscription ‘here lies he who prayed much for his people’.


He was beatified in 1629 by Urban VIII and proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement X Altieri (12.4.1671), also at the request of King Louis XIV of France.
 

 

The nave

The nave

The altarpiece

The altarpiece

The portrait of San Gaetano Thiene

The portrait of San Gaetano Thiene

The font

The font

The Noble Chapel

The Noble Chapel

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