Igreja do Loreto - Lisboa
The church was built on the site of the city walls built by King Fernando to establish the western limits of 14th century Lisbon. Worship of our Lady of Loreto, extremely common in Italy, was introduced to Portugal by Italians in the 14th century. They came to work in professions connected with the sea and fishing. Some prospered even to the extent of taking prominent positions in the Portuguese court. It was very much due to this Italian community that a chapel to Saint Anthony was replaced by a much larger place of worship dedicated to the Virgin of Loreto incorporating a city wall tower into its northern façade.
The current church is dated 1676 after a fire in 1651 destroyed part of the original structure. On the frontispiece, over the architrave, there is a depiction of Our Lady of Loreto, set off by fine drapery, with the child peeking out over the left shoulder. On the entranceway, there are two angels bearing papal arms believed to be the work of the Italian Borromini (17th century). In the lateral niches, there are the apostles Peter and Paul, also clearly of Italian influence.
The single nave rises to a roof decorated with a painting of the Virgin of Loreto attributed to Pedro Alexandrino (1730-1809). Leading off the nave are 12 chapels featuring impressive painted panels and covered in original Italian marble. These survived the damage caused to the church by the 1755 earthquake. Reconstruction work was carried out by José da Costa e Silva, the same architect responsible for the São Carlos theatre.