Overlooking the central Piazza del Popolo, the CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DEL SUFFRAGIO was built between 1701 and 1728 on commission of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Suffrage.
Designed and built by the Roman architect Francesco Fontana, son of Carlo Fontana, the building is the image of both the late Baroque and the poverty of the time. The bell tower was added in 1783.
The façade is made of Istrian stone and divided into two parts. While the upper part is marked by a bas-relief depicting the Liberation of Souls from Purgatory, flanked by the statues of Justice and Peace by Giovanni and Celio Toschini from Ravenna, the lower part is dominated by three portals, divided by pilasters.
The interior of the church
The church has an octagonal plan – very uncommon in Ravenna – and a chapel on each side.
Apart from the Piety in marble by Giovanni Toschini, the eight statues inside the church (Faith, Charity, Saint Philip Neri, Peace, Justice, the Crucifix, Saint Apollinaris, Saint Gregory the Great) are all realised in stucco, an indication of the financial constraints of the time.
The chapel opposite the main entrance houses the main altar. Here is the painting of The Nativity of Mary by Andrea Barbarani, with a medallion on top bearing the inscription ‘Quadi aurora consurgens‘.
Above is a small dome sheltering the altar, in the pendentives of which are statues of the Prophets: Solomon, Isaiah, David and Daniel. From the centre of the church, looking up, it is possible to admire the dome decorated by fine stucco work.