Santa Chiara church and convent

Residence of numerous Poor Clares belonging to families of the southern nobility

The order of the Poor Clares was established in Agnone in 1273, by permission of Bishop Giacomo di Trivento, and counted many followers belonging to families of the southern aristocracy (Carafa, Caracciolo, Marchesani, Baccari etc.) and of the wealthy Agnonese bourgeoisie.

The history of the Reformed Province of Sant’Angelo in Puglia (edited by Father Arcangelo of Montesarchio in 1732) shows that the church with its attached convent of the Poor Clares was founded in 1422: the Masciotta changes the date to 1434, citing as a reason that the transfer of the nuns from the house of Santa Maria at Maiella to the convent of Santa Chiara took place under the pontificate of Eugenio IV, the work of San Bernardino of Siena. The church has a single nave. Inside there is golden wooden graticule in the roccoco style, the work of the Agnonese maestro Nicodemo De Simone, known as “jealousy” because it served to hide the cloistered nuns who attended the services. Many of the manuscripts kept in the interior were stolen or destroyed during the Second World War, when a field hospital was set up inside the premises. Parts of the rich wooden ceiling by Nicoderma De Simone remain. In addition there is a beautiful wooden altar which in turn covers a stone one; the painting representing Santa Teodora, whose backdrop portrays the image of a 17th century Agnone; a special confessional built into the wall that once connected to the corridor leading to the nuns’ rooms (so that they could confess without being seen); an artistic wrought-iron screen, bristling with nails, used as a means of talking with religious women without getting too close to them; remains of a floor in Neopolitan “riggiole” pattern and, of course, an altar dedicated to Santa Chiara, above which is the emblem of the town.

Additional information

Corso Garibaldi nr. 55.

Presently the building, which at one time housed the convent, is used as headquarters for a number of organizations. The church cannot be visited at the present time.