La Chiesa della Natività della Vergine o Chiesa dell’Ulivo
The first church was dedicated to San Giacomo dei Pisani and was founded in the 11th century by noblemen from Pisa, who were engaged in fighting off the invading Saracens with their navy. The church was also known as San Giacomo degli Italiani.
There was further construction in the 14th century and by the 15th century an annex was built to house monks of the Bianchi brotherhood. The church was used to bury those that had been condemned to death. In 1792 the Bourbons purchased the church and adjoining Palazzo San Giacomo. It was returned to the Bianchi confraternity in 1826. In the mid 1800’s the church was radically restructured by King Ferdinand II.
The church, situated in Via Angioina, has a simple facade. The stone doorway dates from the 16th century. There is also a side entrance dating from the 13th century.
The church’s present name of La Chiesa della Natività is taken from the altarpiece by Giovanni Bernardino Azzolino. This is now held in the Diocesan Museum of Gaeta. The church is sometimes known as the Chiesa dell’UIivo. This is perhaps because it was once surrounded by olive trees, or perhaps it is a reference to the olive branches which appear on the Coat of Arms belonging to the Bianchi confraternity (see below).