In Naples there is a church dedicated to Saints Philip and James, more commonly known as the Church of Silk Art because it was built – starting in 1591 – by merchants, spinners, weavers and dyers who were members of the guild of the ancient and noble art of silk.
Founded in the late 15th century, the Neapolitan corporation represented the workers of an industry that grew to be very important for the kingdom’s economy, playing a crucial role especially between the 16th and the 18th centuries.
Indeed, between 1540 and 1630 Naples became a major center for the production of silk, joining Genoa, Florence, Bologna and Venice.
At the time, numerous farmers grew mulberry trees and silkworms – two activities that were probably introduced to the area in the Middle Ages, by the Jewish people who had lived in Naples since the 6th century and traded silk since the early 11th century.
The Church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo – a Baroque gem in the beautiful city center, on Via San Biagio dei Librai – is carefully taken care of by the Respiriamo Arte association, allowing all of us to enjoy the works of art inside, including sculptures by Giuseppe Sammartino and Giuseppe Picano and paintings by Jacopo Cestaro. Today, it is a symbol of the history of beauty and art that Naples has lived, now renowned all over the world.
Church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo
via San Biagio Dei Librai, 118
Saturdays from 11am to 6pm
Sundays from 12-noon to 6pm