Located in the heart of the historic center of L'Aquila, the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio was built in 1713. Until the early eighteenth century it was actually located in another building situated along the current Roio, near the cathedral of St. Maximus. The earthquake of 1703 damaged the structure sufficiently that the association at least was moved to a temporary wooden church in the Piazza Duomo on the site of the current church. Two years later, the land was purchased with the intent of creating a larger, more permanent structure. Reportedly the expenditures of the brotherhood became more lavish due to increases in revenue. The measure was opposed some, however, as it was felt that its presence could diminish the prominence of the other cathedral in the square. The dispute was settled in 1713 when the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars finally granted consent to the building, for the specific purpose of celebrating masses for the repose of the dead so that it would not detract from the cathedral, hence the odd iconography found both inside and outside. Many masons and carpenters reportedly provided free work on the church. The laying of the foundation stone occurred on October 10, 1713 but all the decoration inside was not finally completed until 1775. It was designed by Roman architect Carlo Buratti, a pupil of Carlo Fontana.
The structure consists of a rectangular hall featuring a barrel vault flanked by two side chapels on either side. The two marble altars, which were originally commissioned in 1679 were not installed for another twenty years when they were transferred from the ruined church on the Via Roio. The façade is divided into five areas featuring a double order of Corinthian columns, and the portal is embellished by a pediment and an allegorical image of death, featuring a skeleton and a plaque bearing the inscription: "Iuvetur mortuus non lacrymis, sed precibus, supplicationibus et elemosynis. -S. Chrys." The church was further embellished in the nineteenth century. It was heavily damaged during the earthquake in 2009, and has only recently been reopened. Its dome completely collapsed (of which there is actually video) and it has yet to be completely restored. Many cracks and visible damage can still be found both inside and outside.
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