The church was built in 1470 as a private palazzo for the Sanseverino family.
The façade is unique in that it is not flat, like most other churches, but covered in mini-pyramid shapes made of stone, which project from the surface. The pyramids are covered in seven different symbols in varying order. By 1547, the family had fallen out of favour, and as such, the building was handed over to the Jesuits. With this change of ownership, the meaning of this “code” on the stones on the façade was lost for many centuries. Many theories, and conspiracy theories, were created to explain them, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that art historian Vincenzo De Pasquale recognised the symbols as Aramaic letters, with each of the seven marks corresponding to musical notes.
Once inside the church, you will find that there are two side chapels which overflow with silver ex-votos, representing body parts. These are placed there by worshippers either asking for healing, or in gratitude for healing received, and can be seen at various other churches around the city. Within Gesù Nuovo, the largest number of ex-votos can be found in the side chapel which houses the remains of San Giuseppe Moscati, a physician canonised in 1987.