San Niccolò degli Albari

Petite, and Often Forgotten

Relief of St Nicholas over the church door

Although in the heart of the medieval city and recently subject to a thorough restoration, the pretty, salmon-coloured San Nicolò degli Albari is an often overlooked little church of 1680, built initially as a chapel of the Albari family and today part of a complex belonging to the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Over the door there's a fine terracotta relief of St Nicolas with the three gold balls, symbolizing the dowries he secretly tossed in the window of a poor man's daughters, which as the stories go, landed on their stockings or shoes drying by the fire. Hence Santa filling shoes or stockings, and never forgetting to put a golden orange in the toe.

The second chapel on the left has the reliquary of San Vitale and a rather brownish painting of his martyrdom by Giacinto Bellini of 1666, but the best work of art inside is the Temptation of St Anthony (1690) by Giuseppe Crespi.

Practical Info

Via Oberdan 14

Open Mon-Sat 6.30-9pm

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