La Chiesa di Santa Barbara

The churche of S. Barbara, unlike S. Teodoro (see other photo gallery), was rebuilt and maintained from pre-Christian Roman times to the present day. According to legend St. Peter visited Corleto when he was spreading the word of Christ. The inhabitants of the town also repeat an old legend that a Roman soldier who lived here was present at Mount Calvary during the crucifixion of Christ.


Diana at Piazza Diana

The church Santa Barbara is next to Piazza Diana. On the site of the church there once was a Roman temple devoted to the goddess Diana, the maiden huntress, protector of all that is wild and free, and twin sister of Apollo. The piazza is named to remember the pre-Christian roots of Corleto.

Steps to get up to the church from the piazza.

Clock & bell tower next to the church of Santa Barbara

Due to the lack of space near the church the bell tower was constructed separate from the main church building. The current bell tower replaced the original in 1825.

Main entrance to the church Santa Barbara

Although there has been a temple or church on this site since before Christ, most of the current structure is relatively "new". Construction started in 1750 and was completed in 1762. Only the foundation and the stone wall of the church that extends along the Piazza Diana is the original structure.

Main section of the interior.

The main altar.

Above the main altar

Side altar and statue of Padre Pio.

Painting of Mary, Joseph & young Jesus.

A baptismal fountain?

Holy water font.

Santo Marco.

Why is he pointing at his knee?

St. Michael the Arcangel.

Tribute to the Corleto men lost in WW I.

The church organ.

The organ was built in 1782.

Another Holy Water font.

Corleto's patron saint is Saint Mary, more specifically "Maria Santissima della Selice" or "Madonna della Selice"

This is the story of the origin of the name. I think it is accurate. According to legend one day while someone was traveling along a mule trail an image of the Madonna was discovered on a tree. The type of tree was called "carpine". A small church was built on the spot of the tree and it was called "Madonna del Carpine" (Madonna of the Carpine). The mule trail was eventually paved ("selciata" is the Italian word for pavement) and the structure was now located at the start of the paved road. To better refer to the church it was renaamed "Madonna della Selice" (Modonna of the paved road).

The statue of Santa Barbara.

When Christianity was introduced to the area the temple to the goddess Diana was replaced with the church dedicated to Santa Maria dell’Elice. In the early 1700's the church was rededicated to Santa Barbara. The statue of St. Barbara seen here was purchased from Naples June 24 1720. I believe that the artist was a Nicola Masi.

The people in the back were practicing when we visited. To hear them sing go pack a page and look for a hyperlink to click.