of San Michele
Church of San Michele in the town of Anacapri on the island of
Capri has been designated a "monument" due to the
presence of the remarkable and newly restored majolica
floor mosaic (above) called The Garden of Eden, showing
the Tree of Temptation with the serpent, the animals
described in the Bible, and Adam and Eve as they are
expelled from the Garden by an angel. The floor mosaic
dates from 1761; it has approximately 1,500 tiles and is
considered one of the finest examples of the
18th-century school of Neapolitan majolica
craftsmanship. It was the work of Leonardo Chiaiese.
In both theme and format, it is reminiscent of the Tree of Life mosaic in the
cathedral of Otranto.
church of San Michele, itself, was built in the years
1698 to 1727. The architect was D.A.
Vaccaro, one of the greatest and most active
craftsmen of his day in Naples. The church has had a
varied history: the adjacent premises first served as a
convent; then, during the British
occupation of the island from 1806-1808 the entire
complex was used as an arms deposit; during the
subsequent anti-clerical rule of the French under Murat, the religious order was
closed; the convent was reopened after the Bourbon
restoration (1816); the convent premises were eventually
sold, but the church with its splendid mosaic has
remained. The church contains a number of paintings by
well-known artists of the Neapolitan Baroque, including
Francesco Solimena and Paolo de Matteis.