Chiesa di San Lucifero - History and Facts | History Hit

Chiesa di San Lucifero

Casteddu/Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Chiesa di San Lucifero is a baroque seventeenth century church in Cagliari built on the remains of a sixth century Christian necropolis.

Peta Stamper

25 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Kurgus / CC

About Chiesa di San Lucifero

The Chiesa di San Lucifero, or Church of Saint Lucifer, is a 17th century Baroque church and former temple located in Cagliari, Sardinia.

Chiesa di San Lucifero history

In the early Christian period, the site of Chiesa di San Lucifero was used as a necropolis. Therefore, throughout the early 17th century the area was subject to continuous excavations searching for the martyrs who were believed buried there. At the time, the two archbishops of Cagliari and Sassari both claimed the title of Primate of Sardinia and Corsica. The expectation placed on the excavations at San Lucifero was therefore to determine the greater prestige of one site over another by counting the number of “holy bodies” found.

While the human remains were found on the site of San Saturnino Cathedral, among the relics were some attributed to San Lucifer, which were moved to the basilica’s crypt. Lucifer of Cagliari was bishop of Cagliari in the 4th century and defender of Christian orthodoxy against the Roman Emperor, Constantinous III.

The Chiesa di San Lucifero was itself built in the Mannerist style between 1646 and 1682, funded by the Municipality of Cagliari. Its design echoed the city’s cathedral, with a similar Latin cross shape and high dome.

Chiesa di San Lucifero and the adjoining convent and college was later occupied by Dominican friars, before passing to the Trinitarians who remained there until 1803. Throughout the 19th century Chiesa di San Lucifero was used as a hospice and orphanage, was abandoned and later became a branch of the San Giacomo collegiate church. The first parish priest was Don Mose Farci, directing the community until 1957.

Chiesa di San Lucifero today

If you find yourself in the Villanova district of Cagliari, be sure to take a detour to admire Chiesa di San Lucifero, located a short walk from the Basilica of San Saturnino. From the sunny outside, you can admire the church’s facade, depicting the city’s coat of arms and the canine symbol of the Domenican order.

Inside offers three chapels and the single nave, decorated with an imposing Baroque gilded altar that contains a statue of the Virgin by Guiseppe Antonio Lonis, Sardinia’s most prominent 18th century artist and sculptor.

Getting to Chiesa di San Lucifero

When using public transport around Cagliari, buses 6, 29, 30 or 31 will take you to stop Dante (ang. via San Lucifero), a 250m walk from the Chiesa di San Lucifero. The nearest place to park is a 5 minute walk away on the Via Grazia Deledda.