The Church of San Niccolò is at the far end of the small town of Poggio. Like other fortified churches on the Island of Elba, it was built on the rocks so it could also be used for defense.
Probably built in the XII century, it is shaped like a Greek cross, which probably means that over the years it had two uses; it is indeed a rare example of religious and military architecture all in one.
Although the religious part of the building was probably the first part to be built, with respect to the two ramparts at the sides of the facade - that possibly date back to the XVI century - it seems the other parts of the original building were built to protect Poggio from the pirate attacks.
.Despite the long stairway that leads to the entrance,the outside of the Church is very humble, while the inside has been built in a very luxurious manner, typical of the Baroque period, with many paintings, statues and furnishings as well as the organ from 1854 built by Michelangelo Poli.
You can still seesome magnificent paintings dating back to the nineteenth century in the two chapels at the sides: in the chapel of the Annunziata you can see "The Annunciation", the painting done by Antonio Rossi in 1883, while in the Chapel of the Rosary, on the left hand side, you can see the painting of "The Virgin Mary between Saint Anthony of Padova and Saint Catherine of Siena".
Even more fascinating is the painting of San Rocco, done by Giacomo Mellini, a very important person for the Island of Elba: Not only was he a buccaneer from Republican France, he was also an engineer, a cartographer, a painter, a soldier as well as a mining director and expert. He had studied at the military school in France and after having joined the Revolution he stood out as a defender of Bastia against the English. And it is precisely in Bastia that in the Cathedral of Saint Jean that you can see the
He was also fascinated by the history and archaeology of Elba, and it is thanks to him if so many objects have been found near Capoliveri that are now on show in the Archaeology Museum of Portoferraio.
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