Address: Via San Maria delle Grazie, 26

Hours: Closed since 2009 due to the earthquake


The church, which dominates the main square of the village, was commissioned in the 16th century by the Counts Belprato - patrons and humanists - who dominated Anversa from the end of the 15th centruy to the first half of the 17th century. The facade in particular was built between 1540 and 1587 as can be seen from the dates on the three plaques.
The original building has undergone several changes, mostly carried out in the 20th century, and mainly in the presbytery and the apse. The Marsica earthquake of 1915 caused the barrel vault with lunettes in the nave to collapse. Also in the first half of the century, the tomb of Costanza and Gianvincenzo Belprato and the altar that occupied the centre of the church were removed.  Finally in the 1970’s, the latest changes that gave the church its present appearance were made.


The church has a square stone facade in a Romanesque style, typical of the school of L'Aquila, that is horizontally crowned. It is enclosed by a pilaster on the right-hand corner and on the left by a square bell tower. The tower has four arched windows and the same number of bells. Lower down there is a circular high-relief of the Eternal Father. The front is divided horizontally by an overhanging cornice which stops just before the bell tower. At the bottom, in a central position, is the Renaissance portal which is off-centre. Above the main entrance is a rose window. The semi-circular portal, is enclosed by a frame which is decorated with human figures and leaves interspersed with flowers that join together in the keystone, around the Bernardinian monogram. Either side of the door are two fluted Corinthian columns on high bases decorated with a candlestick pattern supporting the entablature which is decorated with plants. In the central pediment, there is a stone bas-relief, framed by scrolls, featuring the Deposition of Christ supported by two female figures. At the sides, in line with the columns, are sculptures of St. Onofrio on the left and St. Jerome on the right. The rose window (1585) has trefoil arches, but no radial columns, and a richly decorated frame of acanthus leaves that twist into spirals around small flowers. There are also the emblems of the Belprato - Orsini family and of the village of Anversa.


The interior has three naves with a rectangular apse and a transept. The aisles are separated by two large columns on each side, on which rest pointed arches. The central nave has a flat ceiling and is higher than those at the sides which are covered by cross vaults. The transept, which is raised up slightly in relation to the main space, is divided into three bays by piers which support the circular dome. On the main altar is the reproduction of the Anversa Triptych. The original, by an unknown artist of the Florentine school or from Le Marche, from the first half of the 16th century, was stolen in 1981. It is tempera painted onto a rectangular wooden panel and depicts the Coronation of the Virgin receiving the girdle from Saint Thomas with the Apostles around the empty tomb with St. Michael the Archangel and St. Francis of Assisi at the sides. In the apse is the 16th century carved, wooden tabernacle with numerous gilded niches, made in 1664 by master De Picchi from Pescasseroli. In the two aisles are altars from the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. The most valuable artistically are those on the right-hand side. Of particular importance is that of San Rocco, with the valuable statue of the saint in polychrome glazed earthenware from 1530. It is the work of the pignatari - the name by which the potters of Anversa were known. In the altar of the SS. Crocifisso (1522) is a crucifix from the late Renaissance. On it there are two fragments of the demolished tomb of the Belprato family and, at the base, the funerary inscription with a dedication from the husband to his beloved wife. In the left aisle are the remains of the other tomb - some pieces are on the ground near the entrance, others with the symbol of San Bernardino and two little angels are under the altar at the back with further fragments at the base of the concrete staircase that connects the interior of the church with the door of the tower at the front. Leaning up against one of the columns to the left of the nave is the wooden 18th century pulpit attributed to the Sulmonese school of Mosca. Of exquisite workmanship, and of great artistic value, is the organ with 27 pipes in beautifully-worked tin made by master organ builder Antonio Domenico Fedeli from Camerino in 1753. It is placed above the front door of the church in a wooden choir which is supported by two stone columns on tall pedestals. Among the liturgical ornaments from the church is a silver gilt processional cross from the late 15th to early 16th centuries. It is the work of the goldsmith’s school of Sulmona, as documented by the letters SUL imprinted on the metal foils. It’s now kept in the Civic Diocesan Cultural Centre of Santa Chiara in Sulmona.