Santa Maria del Soccorso – Forio, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Santa Maria del Soccorso

Forio, Italy

A snow-white church overlooking the wonderful Tyrrhenian Sea.  


The Chiesa del Soccorso is located on a steep promontory in Forio, a town on the Ischia Island. This peculiar white-colored church is dedicated to Santa Maria della Neve (Saint Mary of the Snow).

The first religious building was dedicated on the Soccorso promontory around 1350 as part of an Augustinian convent, later suppressed in 1653. Originally, the church was small with only a nave and apse. Between the 18th and 19th-centuries, three chapels were added. One of these chapels contains a 15th-century crucifix that, according to local legend, was found in the sea near Forio by sailors after a storm. Other artwork dating as far back as the 9th-century can also be found inside the church.

With its snow-white color and curious structure, the church was inspired by the traditional buildings found in the seafaring villages of the Mediterranean, with influences from Greek, Byzantine, and Moorish architecture.

A small white Gothic-style bell tower stands on the left side of the building. In front of the church, there is a large square with piperno stone stairs leading up to the sanctuary. From this plaza, a wide view of the wonderful sea around Forio can be enjoyed.

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