San Francesco di Paola is a church located at the west side of Piazza del Plebiscito, the city's main square.
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In the early 19th century, King Joachim Murat of Naples (Napoleon's brother-in-law) planned the entire square and the large building with the colonnades as a tribute to the emperor. When Napoleon was finally dispatched, the Bourbons were restored to the throne of Naples. Ferdinand I continued the construction - finished in 1816 - but converted the final product into the church one sees today. He dedicated it to Saint Francis of Paola, who had stayed in a monastery on this site in the 16th century.
The church is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. The façade is fronted by a portico resting on six columns and two Ionic pillars. Inside, the church is circular with two side chapels. The dome is 53 metres high.
The interior has a number of statues: a San Giovanni Crisostomo by Gennaro Calì, Sant'Ambrogio by Tito Angelini, St Luke by Antonio Calì, a St Matthew by Carlo Finelli, a St John Evangelist by Pietro Tenerani, St Mark by Giuseppe de Fabris, a Sant'Agostino by Tommaso Arnaud, and a Sant'Attanasio by Angelo Solani.
In the chapels on the right, we find the following altarpieces: San Nicola da Tolentino and St Francis of Paola receives a stem of charity from an Angel, by Nicola Carta, Final Communion of San Ferdinando di Castiglia by Pietro Benvenuti, a Transit di St Joseph by Camillo Gerra, the Immaculate Conception and the death of Sant'Andrea Avellino by Tommaso de Vivo.
Before the main altar, is a 1641 work by Anselmo Cangiano, transferred here in 1835, from the church of the Santi Apostoli. In the apse is a painting of St Francis of Paola resuscitates a dead man by Vincenzo Camuccini. In the sacristy is an Immaculate Conception by Gaspare Landi and a Circumcision of Jesus by Antonio Campi.