Walking down the right hand side of the nave you will first meet the Chapel of the Beams (Cappella delle Travi). The beams or wooden trunks from the “madia” raft upon which the Madonna’s image arrived in 1117 are preserved in a large cupboard. Then the Chapel of St Michael Archangel, on its alter a painting of “St Michael and the devil” by Iacopo Palma.

Next comes the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception with its marble statue of Our Lady and a bust of Bishop Macedonio. The Chapel of St James of Compostela contains an important painting of the “Battle of Clavijo” by Finoglio. Lastly the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament with its splendid altar and a triptych by De Mura showing the “Supper at Emmaus” and the “Sacrifice of Abraham”. From the altar you reach the Oratory of the Archconfraternity (Oratorio della Arciconfraternita), enriched with baroque stuccoes and various paintings. It stores the title page of the Censi del Sacramento (Censuses of the Sacrament), a manuscript code of the 16th Century by Fra Reginaldo.

From this Chapel of the Sacrament you can enter the sacristy where numerous works of art are kept. For example, in the main sacristy there are art works by French artists who moved to Monopoli, canvases by Francanzano, called Franzino da Verona and remains and relics from the ancient cathedral and its portal. Some ancient inscriptions are still legible. Continuing along the right side of the nave we reach the Chapel of the Martyrs established by Bishop Villani in the 1800s. Urns each side of the altar contain holy relics and overhead hangs a painting of the “Madonna with St Rocco and St Sebastian” by Palma Il Giovane from the 1600s.

A broad flight of steps leads us to the Main Chapel. One of the many paintings displayed shows the arrival of the famous raft. The large tabernacle which surrounds the byzantine icon is protected on each side by statues of St Michael and St Joseph whilst in the centre of the lunette Christ is featured. On the side walls are canvases showing moments from the relic’s arrival.

As you descend the steps on the left hand side there is the Chapel of St Ann and then the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary showing an altarpiece of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by saints. Then comes the Chapel of the Redeemer with various paintings from the Neapolitan school of the 1600s. The Chapel of the Crucifix contains a sculpture from the same era. The Chapel of St Francis da Paola’s altar, one-time patron of the city, has a wooden tabernacle covered in gold leaf showing the saint. Finally, you reach the Chapel of the Baptismal Font where you can view a painting from the Flemish school.

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The Cathedral Square A closed square on three sides it was constructed in 1783-84 by the architect G. Palmieri and is bounded by the splendid façade of the church, by the Bishop’s Palace (with its balcony and gallery) and by the theatrical great wall decorated with ten statues in accommodating niches dating back to 15th Century which are from the now demolished main re...