home > Chiese > Church of Saint Theresa of the Males

Church of Saint Theresa of the Males

Strada Lamberti in San Nicola, 4 - 6010 - 70122
In relation to the activities of the Cappella Musicale Santa Teresa dei Maschi
Owner The Discalced Carmelites
Current use Church
The Church of Santa Teresa dei Maschi (St. Theresa of the Males) is dedicated to Saint Theresa of Avila. It was built at the behest of the Discalced Carmelites in a strategic location in the old town of Bari, near the Cathedral, between what today are the streets called Strada della Torretta, Strada Santa Teresa dei Maschi, and Vico Maurelli. The chosen area was situated half way between the Cathedral of St. Sabinus and the Basilica of St. Nicholas, and became the third largest religious centre and urban agglomeration point of the city. The church was built at the back of the namesake monastery between 1690 and 1696 (the latter date is inscribed in the dedicatory epigraph on the façade, above the marble entrance portal).
The church is of Baroque influence and, by far, one of the most stunning and evocative churches of the old town, with its grand scale, majestic façade, and monumental extrados ribbed dome, now an intrinsic part of the Bari skyline. The coat of arms of the church founders, the Carmelites, sits above the broken pediment of the entrance portal that is accessed via a six-step semi-circular staircase. From here, the tripartite façade rises, displaying Doric pilasters in the lower part and Ionic ones in the upper. A dynamic frame adorned with triglyphs and metopes separates the two sections. A lantern surmounts the majestic dome that is also punctuated by pilasters. The bell tower is stockier and lower than the dome, and stands next to it.
The church interior has a Greek-cross plan. It is embellished with paintings credited to Andrea Miglionico, himself a member, for a few years, of the in-situ Brotherhood of the Most Holy Mother of God and of St. Theresa. The church houses the statues of the Paschal Mystery of the Church of the Vallisa that are carried in procession on Good Friday, on even years, alternating with those belonging to the nearby church of San Gregorio which are carried on odd years.
The church is called "…of the Males" to distinguish the new church from a pre-existing one that had already been dedicated to St. Theresa of Avila and run by the Discalced Carmelites, referred to as the Church of St. Theresa of the Females, located in Piazza San Pietro.
Today, the church hosts the chapel choir Cappella Musicale Santa Teresa dei Maschi, and opens its doors for cultural and recreational events.
End of construction 1696
Consecration 1711
Owner The Discalced Carmelites
Previous buildings Houses belonging to the Palombi's family
The Discalced Carmelites settled in Bari around 1630, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order of the Ancient Observance reformed by the two Spanish saints, St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
The friars, however, had been forced to roam from church to church before settling down. They had first met in the Church of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), then, in that of San Rocco (St. Roch), after that, San Gregorio (St. Gregory), and, finally, were lodged by the Lamberti family in Strada Lamberti, in the Church of San Gregorio, also called San Gregorio de Falconibus, owned by the family.
The monastery and the church were later to be built in an area brimming with houses that was purchased by the Palombi family in 1637.
The construction of the church dedicated to St. Theresa of Avila, called "of the Males", was completed in 1696, while the solemn consecration of the entire monastic complex took place on January 1st, 1711.
In 1975, Msgr. Ballastrero decreed the suppression of the St. Theresa church, and therefore was abandoned until around the year 2000 when restoration work began on it.
The local people called the church St. Theresa “of the Males” to avoid confusion with the homonymous church run by the Carmelites, called Church of St. Theresa "of the Females", which no longer exists. The Congregation of the Most Holy Mother of God was established in Bari in 1710 pursuant to a schism with the brothers of the Congregation of the Carmine. One of the first members of this Brotherhood was the painter A. Miglionico (1663-1718), a pupil of Luca Giordano, credited with the high altar painting depicting the Apotheosis of St. Theresa, as well as most of the decorative paintings in this extraordinary gem of Apulian Baroque style.

How do I reach downtown?
airport Airport  

From the international airport Karol Wojtyla in Bari,
Take Viale Enzo Ferrari in the direction of Strada Provinciale 204 / Viale Gabriele d'Annunzio / SP204.
Take Viale Europa and Via Napoli in the direction of Via S. Francesco D'Assisi in Bari.
Take the SS 16.
Exit the SS 16 via Exit 4 towards “Bari Centro-Porto”.
Continue down Via Napoli and then Via San Francesco d'Assisi.
Drive in the direction of Piazza Federico II di Svevia.

motorway Toll road  

Take E843, Viale Giuseppe Tatarella and the underpass Sottopassaggio Giuseppe Filippo in the direction of Via Napoli in Bari.
Continue along Via Napoli and drive in the direction of Piazza Federico II di Svevia.

other Public Transport  

AMTAB bus lines #3, #12, #12/, #21, and #35 stop near the castle.

park Parking lots  

Piazza Massari-Piazza Federico II di Svevia-Piazza Prefettura