The territory of Fasano is rich in faith evidences represented by countless churches and chapels. Some of them are parish churches many others were built by confraternities for devotional purposes.
Below a list of the major ones.
Church of San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist) – Mother Church
An historical memory, dated 1327, records a resolution that states the demolition of the ancient temple in order to allow the construction of a bigger sacred building more appropriate for the city . The current church, as reported on the plaque, is the result of a great makeover lasted six years (1594-1600).
The façade made in calcareous “tufo” (local stone) has majestic proportions, is harmonic and shows a suggestive and measured spirituality typical of the late Renaissance. Columns and niches border the only aisle; formerly there were two lines of chapels, named gentilitian because they were given in custody to creditable families belonging to the local aristocracy or to a confraternity.
On top of the presbytery, in the apse, there is the chapel where is located the image of the saint protector Maria SS. Di Pozzo Guacito. Its building, lasted 120 years , faced serious and complex problems: the result was a majestic but little coherent and functional structure. Nowadays it accommodates the mechanism of the big pipe organ.
Church of Sant’ Antonio Abate (Saint Anthony the Great)
At the beginning of the sixteenth century the clergy of Fasano donated to the Order of Friars Minor a garden where was built a monastery for 12 monks thanks to the authorization of Pope Clement VIII. Furthermore, was built a chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin Mary and was created a confraternity with the same name. Later, was built a cloister decorated with frescoes portraying the sacrifice of Saint Francis, then was added a new wing used as primary school and pre high school and lastly as guest house. In 1753 the extension of the church was finished and it was consecrated. At the end of 1800 there was a collapse and the reconstruction lasted two years, meantime in the Kingdom of Italy the religious orders were abolished. So the monastery had been used as primary school and the church began property of the Confraternity of the Immaculate. In 1924 the church began a parish and the building was subject to extension, changes and restorations.
Church of San Giovanni Paolo II (Saint John the Second)
It is the most recent parish church in the city and houses the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is located in the north area of Fasano, near to the industrial zone. The church shows some unfinished sections, it has a modern style characterized by a wide and elegant colonnade outside, the interior is a wide and semicircular space around the central altar characterized by one aisle.
Not parish churches
Church of the Purgatory Souls
It was built in 1696, as written on the inscription under the emblem of the city on the façade, for the volition of the Confraternity of Pio Monte del Purgatorio. The first restore dates back to 1776. The building shows many baroque decorations, one aisle, a main altar made in polychrome marble typical of the Neapolitan school, canvas and frescoes, a wooden choir and an organ placed on a wooden balcony ( all 18th century). The lateral altars are dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Tolentino and to the Dead Christ (with a papier-mache simulacrum), Saint Michael and Our Lady of Sorrows (the statue greatly venerated and brought in procession on the Good Friday). In the sacristy there are the wooden bust of Saint Francis of Paola and the “treasure of the confraternity”, some silver liturgical tools.
Church of San Francesco da Paola (Saint Francis of Paola)
The church and the hospice of Minims were built in the 17th century outside the city wall: in 1716 the second one was a monastery, used as Hospital in 1813. Nowadays the monastery building is part of the civil hospital “Umberto I”, the last general restore dates back to 1974. The building of the church ended in 1683 but in 1740 it was extended by father Paolo Guarini. In 1870 it was completely restored.
The Church has been temporary house of the parish of Our Lady of Salette, waiting for the building of the homonymous church in a recently urbanized area.
On the top of the front façade there is a stone statue of Saint Francis of Paola.
Inside there is one aisle with transept and lateral chapels. The main altar is dedicated to Our Lady of Salette and was made by a local craftsman in 1882. The cult of the Virgin that, according to the legend, appeared in the little French town of Salette, was imported in Fasano thanks to a Minim chaplain at the end of the eighteenth century.
The altars, made of stone and stucco and located in the lateral chapels, are of from Neapolitan or Apulian school (17th century). The ones on the right present: the Pietà (brought in procession on the Good Friday), the canvas portraying Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Crucifixion and Saint Francis of Paola crossing the Strait of Messina ; the ones on the right present: the Assumption, Our Lady of the Well, Saint Lucy and Saint Michael. In the sacristy there are canvas portraying the Nativity and Christ Crucified.
Church Madonna del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary)
Formerly the church was included in the seventeenth-century monastery of Saint Teresa, owned by the cloistered nuns “teresiane”. In 1908 the nuns left and the monastery was given to the confraternity of the Santissimo Rosario, the same that has the custody of the church of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas). In 1919 the cloister of the monastery was subjected to changes and restores becoming a square where was hosted the fruit and vegetable market, equipped with a marbled fountain in the middle. In 2004 the area became a shopping centre (“Portici delle Teresiane”)
As regards the church , the main altar is dedicated to Our lady of the Rosary whose picture is located in a niche. It has been realized in 1656 as a vow after the rescue from a plague.
In the lateral niches there are others sculptures: on the left you find Saint Vincent Ferrer, Saints Cosmas and Damian and the Agony in the Garden (brought in procession during the holy week); on the right you find Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Infant Jesus of Prague that wears a dress made and embroidered by local sewers.
Church of Assunta (Assumption of Mary)
Located on the right side of the Mother Church, it is a little baroque church with a onion dome bell tower. Is was built in 1727 under subscription of Ferdinand IV Bourbon and completely restored in 1999.
The main altar is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary with a sculpted group of angels. In the lateral niches there are the statues of Saint Vincent, Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Rita and Dead Christ (brought in procession during the rites of the Holy Week)
Church of San Francesco di Assisi (Saint Francis of Assisi)
The Church was built in 1885 commissioned by the Third Order of Saint Francis. It has one aisle and a façade with a gable. The main altar is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. Here there are some papier-mâché statues made in Salento: the Ecce Homo (brought in procession during the rites of the Holy Week), the Desolata, Saint Clare and Our Lady of the Cross
Church of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas)
The church was built in 1596 outside the city wall, wanted by the nobleman Donato Antonio Paternò. In his testament he stated the will to dedicate the building to the saint coming from Myra. In 1887 the church became property of the prince Vincenzo Telesio who restored it and dedicated it to Our Lady of the Rosary as vow for the healing of his wife. After, it went under the custody of the confraternity of Maria Santissima del Rosario, as today is.