Tourist Attraction in Lecce: Chiesa della Madre di Dio e di San Nicolò
The church of the Mother of God and St. Nicholas, also known as the church of the Scalze is a Baroque church of Lecce whose building dates back to 1631 for the layout of the Ligurian patrician Belisario Paladini. Nearby is the former Scalze monastery, which was acquired in 1903 by the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, to make it the permanent home of the General House and the Deaf Institute founded by San Filippo Smaldone. The church has a simple fairy tale, animated by a very decorative columnist portal, by Cesare Penna, who also carved the relief of the frieze between David and Goliath and the statue of the Archangel Michael leaping the devil. At the sides of the portal, two niches host the statues of the Guardian Angel and St. Catherine of Alexandria attributable to Giuseppe Zimbalo. Other decorative elements are a window with a rich frame and a garland that adorns the fret of the trabeation. The hall walls are animated by statues-reliquaries placed in niches and altars of vivid plastic look. In the presbytery, dominated by a major altar of 1648 adorned with an inlaid pole and a monumental marble ciborium, the shrine of the Mother of God with St. Joseph and Saint Nicholas (1645) and the monument to Belisario Paladini, founder of the church, are of interest. In the presbytery the ceiling is vaulted with stucco coats. San Filippo Smaldone's remains were restored in this church from the city cemetery in 1942. San Filippo Smaldone founded the congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts in the nearby monastery and designed an institution dedicated to the care and education of the deaf-hearted .