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CHURCH OF SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE



Already in existence in 1485, the year in which the Campitelli family took on its patronage, the Church of Saint James the Apostle is the oldest in Melissa. The building is situated on a rocky spur in the upper part of the town, dating back to the early Middle Ages. It is near the Castle, which was built later.

Popular tradition has it that Count Francesco Campitelli used to exercise his “right of the first night”. At the end of every wedding ceremony among the Melissa townsfolk, he would wait for the bride near this church, to then lead her away through a tunnel to his castle and to his bed chamber. To stop this malpractice, in 1633 a townsman killed the count. In memory of this bloody event, that very same year the people of Melissa erected an obscene monument inside the church along with a headstone deriding the count. This oral tradition, so dear to the Melissa people (a popular motto reads “ we are all children of the count”), has been proved wrong by documents contained in the State Archives of Naples. Firstly, Francesco Campitelli died in 1668 and was buried in the convent of the Capuchin Fathers of Strongoli.
The funeral monument, which actually contains nothing that is obscene, was erected by Francesco Campitelli himself to reaffirm the Campitelli family’s power over the church. As if to emphasize this founding family, above the door we can still see the Campitelli coat of arms: a deep blue shield with an argent band in an azure field, along with a lion passant and three five-petal red roses.

The building no longer holds religious services.

Address: Via San Giacomo, 88814 – Melissa (KR)



GALLERY



altare secondario
altare
dettaglio altare secondario
dettaglio del campanile
esterno della chiesa
particolare dell'altare secondario
particolare dell'arco del portale
resti lastra commemorativa
resto architettonico interno



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