Churches and Museums
The Cathedral of Naples (or Duomo)
The Cathedral of Naples (or Duomo) is the main Church of Naples, southern Italy. It is dedicated to San Gennaro (St. Januarius), the patron saint of the city. The church houses a vial of the Saint's blood that is brought out twice a year, on the first Sunday in May and 19 September, and usually liquefies. According to legend if the blood should fail to liquefy, then something bad will happen to Naples.
Via del Duomo 147; Naples, Italy.
The Cathedral of Naples was built around the end of the 12th century but has undergone several restorations over the centuries, partly carried out to repair the damage from earthquakes and partly to increase its artistic beauty. The church was commissioned by the King Charles I of Anjou. Construction continued during the reign of his successor, Charles II (1285-1309) and was completed in the early 14th century under Robert of Anjou. It was built on the foundations of two palaeo-Christian basilicas, whose traces can still be clearly seen. Underneath the church, excavations have revealed Greek and Roman artifacts. The cathedral has been restored numerous times over the centuries. It was redone after the earthquake of 1788 and again in 1887. Its marble portals, however, are original.
The facade of the cathedral is 46.50 meters wide and is around 50 meters tall. It is endowed with three portals: A plant and two sides. The portal of left has on its right St. Giovanni IV the Scribe, in the kiosk the St. Bishops Pomponio, Nostriano and Domenico's Jollo sculptures. In the medallion there is the bust of the Savior in memory of the Stefania to which was devoted. In the lunetta there is set a statue of St. Atanasio attributed to Antonio Baboccio.
The portal on the right has on its right St. Eustazio, in the kiosk the St. Bishops Fortunate and Massimo, Alberto's Ferrer sculptures. In the lunetta is set a statue representing St. Aspreno attributed to Antonio Baboccio.
Both the portals are in axle with the side aisles and the apse's chapels devoted to the Saints represented by the statues.
The portal on the right only open's for the inherent festivities of the cult of St. Gennaro; it has to be opened also in the following exceptional cases: the fruition of a religious function of the ruling royal family or the marriage of a member of the family Capece Minutolo.
In the tower of left, on her bifora, the angels to the sides of the cuspide are of Salvatore Irdi. In the circle there is a bust of Saint Restituta made from Michele Busciolani. On the side Thomas Solariums it carved emperor Costantino's relief, that made to build Holy Restituta: the first Neapolitan Cathedral.
In the tower of right, the angels with the symbols of St. Gennaro are the works of Stanislao Lista. In the circle there is the bust of St. Gennaro of Antonio Busciolano. On the side, of Thomas Solari, the bishop's relief Stephen I, founder of the second Neapolitan Cathedral.
The Chapel of the Treasure of St. Gennaro
Chapel of San Gennaro is built between 1608 and 1637 to fulfill the vow made by the people of Naples on January 13, 1527, after a plague. The bust of Januarius is precious. It is of silver, done by French craftsmen and is a gift of Charles III of Angio. It preserves part of the saint's skull as well as the vial of blood that is believed by the faithful to liquefy miraculously twice a year.
San Gennaro was the Bishop of Benevento and was beheaded at Pozzuoli in 304 during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. They had to chop his head off, the story goes, because when they had thrown him to the lions once before, the animals had refused to attack him and had simply crouched in submission at his feet. His remains were taken to Napoli to be conserved.
The Miracle of San Gennaro
refers to the liquefaction of the clotted blood of the saint. It is said to happen two times a year at the Duomo (Cathedral) of Naples and at the Church of San Gennaro at Solfatara in Pozzuoli, virtually on the spot where he was killed. September 19 is the anniversary of his martyrdom. Besides September 19 and the first Sunday in May, some sources say the miracle may also occur on December 16, in commutation of a violent explosion of Vesuvius, which spared the city in the 1600s.
Cathedral of Naples Excursion
Church of New Jesus
is the name of a church and a square in Naples, Italy. They are located just outside the western boundary of the historic center of the city. The existence of the square is a consequence of the expansion of the city to the west beginning in the early 1500s under the rule of Spanish viceroy Pedro Alvarez de Toledo. The square is marked by three prominent landmarks: The Church of Gesù Nuovo, The Church of Santa Chiara and The Spire of the Immaculate Virgin.
The 16th century Jesuit church was constructed by Valeriano (and later by Fanzago and Fuga) out of the Severini Place (15th century), of which only the curious embossed stone facade survives. The ebullient decoration of the interior (17th century) is fully in accordance with the needs of the Jesuits, who sought to attract the faithful through drama and direct appeal to the emotions. It is resplendent with coloured marble and huge paintings, including some by Ribera. In 1668 an earthquake destroyed Lanfranco's dome - the present one is 18th century.
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo 2 - 80134 Naples (NA);
The Church of Gesù Nuovo (New Jesus) was originally a palace built in 1470 for Roberto Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno. The Jesuits had already built a church in Naples, now called Gesù Vecchio. Political intrigues caused the property to be confiscated, and eventually sold in the 1580s to the Jesuits for 45,000 ducats to construct a church (1584 - 1601) under architect Giuseppe Valeriano.
Although the present building was officially consecrated on 7th October 1601 it was only actually completed much later. In 1634 Giovanni Lanfranco began work on frescoes in the dome which later collapsed in the earthquake of June 5th 1688 and painting in the interior of the church continued until the Jesuits were expelled from the Kingdom of Naples on 20th November 1767. The church was given to the reformed Franciscan or Grey Friars with the name Trinity Major but was handed back to the Jesuits on their return in 1821.
In 1857 a main altar was finally built to replace the pre-existing wooden one. However two years later the Jesuits were expelled again and only returned this time definitively in 1900. During the First World War the church was used to store grain and suffered serious damage in the bombings of 4th August 1943 which required twenty years of restoration. The church suffered damage again in the earthquake of 20th November 1980.
Today the church is much-loved and attended and is also a place of pilgrimage to Saint Joseph Moscati, a recently canonized doctor whose remains lie in a side-chapel. His name has also been given to an anti-usury Foundation set up on the premises.
In the inner part of the church, behind the facade, it is possible to admire a big fresco, representing «The Expulsion of Eliodoro from Jerusalem temple», a masterpiece by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747), inspired to the bible episode described in II Maccabei Book, chapter 3. The vault frescos, placed between the door and the dome in the first part of the nave, were carried out by Belisario Corenzio (1560-1630) and Paolo De Matteis (1622-1630). They represent bible scenes and stories of Saints, who have exalted Jesus' Name. On the four pillars which bear the dome are frescoed the four Evangelists, a work by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647). The present dome is not the original one, designed with great solemnity by Paolo Valeriano, since it crashed during 1688 earthquake. The author of the frescos, placed on the second part of the vault up to the apse, is Massimo Stanzione (1585-1656). They represent scenes from Virgin Mary's life.
The Apse and the High Altar were conceived as praise hymn to Eucharistic Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Cosimo Fanzago (1591-1678) carried out the apse drawing, whereas Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) revised it. According to the project, the apse has six large monolithic columns and in their middle, there is the big statue of the Immaculate, placed on a big marble block taken by a group of angels. The statue was carried out by Antonio Busciolano (1823-1871), who also sculptured the two side statues representing the Apostles Peter and Paul.
The High Altar, created on F. Giuseppe Grossi's inspiration, is fruit of different Neapolitan artists' work, and was erected in 1857. It cost a very high sum for that time, since it was made of rare marbles, golden bronze and precious stones. Three bronze bas-relieves arise on a black marble base: on the left, Supper of Emmaus (made by Salvatore Irdi), on the right, The Promise of Eucharist to Cafarnao, and in the middle the reproduction of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. These last two bas-relieves are works by Gennaro Cali.
Above it, together with didactic and historical symbols concerning the Eucharistic mystery, eight busts of Saints, who have particularly distinguished for their glorification of Eucharist, overhang from shell-shaped medallions. From the left to the right side, they are St. Juliana of Liege, St. Stanislaus Kostka, the blessed Lanfranc of Canterbury, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis Borgia and St. Gaetano Thiene. Gennaro Cali carried out these medallions, apart from the third and the fourth bust, whose author is Costantino Labarbera.
On the Tabernacle, principally made of malachite, there is an inscription, which expresses the concept implied in the altar: «Deus absconditus heic»: here is the Hidden God. In the walls at the two sides of the high altar, there are two elegant small choirs in red marble, placed on marmoreal portal as well, and the two Chancels with big seventeenth century organs. The right organ was built in 1650 by Pompeo di Franco and it was restored in 1986 by Gustavo Zanin. It has 52 registers and 2,523 pipes. The left organ, whose author is Vincenzo Miraglia, was built prior to 1646 and is no more in use.
Church of New Jesus Excursion
Chiesa di San Gregorio Armeno (Church of St. Gregory of Armenia)
Chiesa di San Gregorio Armeno (1580) is one of the richest Baroque churches in Naples, with a cloister. Benedictine ruins still preside over this church. The convent attached to it earned a reputation for luxury since the nuns, traditionally from the noble families, were accustomed to lavish living, which continued here.
The sumptuous Baroque interior of the church sports frescoes by the prolific Luca Giordano. The cloister is a quiet haven in a neighbourhood noisy with vendors of Neapolitan crib figures (presepi), whose many workshop line the Via San Gregorio Armeno.
Location Address: Via del Duomo 147, Naples, Italy
According to tradition the monastery is located on the site of the remains of the temple to Attic Ceres. It was founded in the 8th century by a group of nuns belonging to the order of St Basil who fled Constantinople with the relics of Saint Gregory, Bishop of Armenia. In 1225 a decree by Sergio Duke of Naples meant the convent was joined with other convents dedicated to the Saviour and Saint Pantaleon and became subject to rules of the Benedictine order.
The rigid rules imposed by the Tridentine reform led to the building of a new convent. From 1572 to 1577 Vincenzo Della Monica extended the buildings and made living quarters more suitable for the strict cloistering and new community life imposed on the nuns. Forty rooms were added, each with its own loggia facing to the front of the building. In keeping with levantine rites the church had been at the centre of the convent but it was completely rebuilt between 1574 and 1580 to a design by Giovanni Battista Cavagna and given an opening onto the street, a single nave with four side chapels each side separated by corinthian parastades, and a rectangular apse surmounted by a dome.
From 1579 to 1582 at the wishes of Abbess Beatrice Caracciolo, the church was enriched with a carved, painted wooden ceiling the work of painter Theodore the Flemish and "carpenter" Giovanni Andrea Magliulo working together with a large group of collaborators. From 1671 to1684 Luca Giordano painted the church with a narrative series of fifty two episodes. Other work in the church is by ornamentalist architect Dionisio Lazzari and stucco workers Giovan Battista d'Adamo and Luise Lago.
In the 18th century the church was embellished with stucco, marble and brass work typical of the Neapolitan baroque period. It also acquired an organ and two wooden sculpted mass tablets created by the court architect Niccolo Tagliacozzi Canali, active in the church from 1730 to 1750. In 1757 a winter choir was created in a space below the truss beams under the wooden ceiling. This was used by nuns present during religious services.
The lower part of the church facade has arches in piperno (a type of lavic stone) ashlar work. The upper part of the facade features tuscanic pilasters alternating with large windows which illuminate the nun's choir above the porch. The late 16th century wooden entrance doorway has carved relief work depicting the figures of Saints Lawrence and Stephen and the Evangelists.
Church of St. Gregory of Armenia Excursion
Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore (Basilica of Saint Lawrence Maggiore
The splendid Gothic church of San Lorenzo Maggiore stands on layers of antiquities. It is located at the precise geographic center of the historic center of the ancient Greco Roman city, at the intersection of via San Gregorio Armeno and via dei Tribunali. Beneath its cloister, which contains exposed remains from Roman times, a large excavation from the Greek and Roman eras of Naples constitutes with antiquities discovered below the nearby Duomo a considerable segment of the ancient city centre.
The name "San Lorenzo" may also refer to the new museum now opened on the premises, as well as to the Roman archaeological site beneath the church itself.
San Lorenzo actually is a church plus monastery. The new museum takes up the three floors above the courtyard and is given over to the entire history of the area that centers on San Lorenzo, beginning with classical archaeology and progressing to a chart display of historical shipping routes from Naples throughout Magna Grecia and the Roman Empire. The museum provides a detailed account of the local "city hall" that was demolished in order to put up the church in the 13th century and continues up past the Angevin period and into more recent history.
Piazza San Gaetano via Tribunali 316;
The church's origins derive from the presence of the Franciscan order in Naples during the lifetime of St. Francis of Assisi, himself. The site of the present church was to compensate the order for the loss of their earlier church on the grounds where Charles I of Anjou decided to build his new fortress, the Maschio Angioino in the late 1200s.
Beneath San Lorenzo, about half of an original Roman market has been excavated. The site has been open since 1992, the result of 25 years of painstaking excavation. The market place is the only large-scale Greek-Roman site excavated in the downtown area.
This mainly 14th century Franciscan church (with an 18th century facade) was built during the reign of Robert the Wise of Anjou. The storyteller Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 - 75) is said to have based the character Fiammetta on Maria, the daughter of King Robert, whom he saw here on Easter Eve, 1334. For Naples, San Lorenzo Maggiore is a rare Gothic edifice. Its nave and apse ambulatory have a magnificent period simplicity. The church houses some interesting medieval tombs, most notably the Gothic tomb of Catherine of Austria, who died in 1323, by a pupil of Giovanni Pisano. Excavations in the monastic cloister, where the lyric poet and scholar Petrarch (1304 - 74) once stayed, have revealed the remains of a Roman basilica. Greek and medieval excavations are also under way.
Basilica of Saint Lawrence Maggiore Excursion
Church of San Ferdinando
San Ferdinando is the neighborhood of Naples, southern Italy that includes, among other landmarks, the Royal Palace, the large adjacent square named Piazza del Plebiscito, the San Carlo opera house and the church of San Ferdinando, for which the area and adjacent small square are named. (Technically, the square is now called Piazza Trieste e Trento but is commonly referred to by the older name.)
The church was originally a Jesuit house of worship and was opened in 1665. It was originally dedicated to St. Francis Xavier ("San Francesco Saverio" in Italian), friend of St. Ignatius Loyola and one of the members of the first company of Jesuits. The original name of the church was, in fact, San Francesco Saverio.
Piazza Trieste e Trento, 1, Naples, 80132, Italy.
The church of San Ferdinando was built between 1628 and 1660 together with the convent. It was paid for by a Grammar school, the Compagnia di Gesù. The designers were Giovanni Giacomo Conforto and Cosimo Fanzago. When the Jesuits were exiled from the Kingdom of Naples governed by Borbone, the church was given to the Constantinian Cavalry and was dedicated, by way of thanks to the saint from whom King Ferdinando I received his name. In the church, popular with the Neapolitans and very well-attended, until a few years ago, there were spectacular religious events during Holy Week - artists from the San Carlo theatre performed Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. The interior is a Latin Cross with a central nave and side chapels. The church was rededicated to San Ferdinando when the Jesuits were expelled from Naples in 1767. The facade of the church has recently undergone restoration.
Church of San Ferdinando Excursion
Church of San Francesco of Paola
It is located at the west side of Piazza del Plebiscito, the city's main square. In the early 19th century, King Joachim Murat of Naples (Napoleon's brother-in-law) planned the entire square and the large building with the colonnades as a tribute to the emperor. When Napoleon was finally dispatched, the Bourbons were restored to the throne of Naples. Ferdinand I continued the construction - finished in 1816 - but converted the final product into the church one sees today. He dedicated it to Saint Francis of Paola, who had stayed in a monastery on this site in the 16th century.
The church is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. The facade is fronted by a portico resting on six columns and two Ionic pillars. Inside, the church is circular with two side chapels. The dome is 53 meters high.
Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples, Italy.
The Church of San Francesco di Paola was built as an offering from Ferdinando di Borbone after his return from exile in Palermo during the French occupation. The project was drawn up by the architect Pietro Bianchi in 1816. The church, inaugurated in 1816, was given the title of Papal Basilica by Pope Gregory XVI. The Basilica itself is preceded by a pronaos comprising of ten columns, which hold up a tympanum at the top of which a statue of Religion rests.
The church is circular in shape and it is covered by an impressive dome, which is styled on the Pantheon, with lacunars and rosettes carved from limestone. The internal perimeter is ringed by 32 fluted columns with Corinthian capitols through which six side chapels can be seen. On the walls of the apse one can enjoy a painting by Vincenzo Camuccini depicting San Francesco di Paola tending to young Alessandro. It was painted in 1830 at the request of Francesco I.
Church of San Francesco of Paola Excursion
Monastery of St. Clare
Santa Chiara is a religious complex in Naples, southern Italy, which includes the Church of Santa Chiara, a monastery, tombs and an archeological museum. This is the thirteenth-century's Gothic church/convent of Santa Chiara, marked most obviously by the belfry that stands within the grounds at the end of the square. The convent was built between 1310 and 1328 at the behest of the wife of King Robert of Anjou. The complex retains the citadel-like walls setting it apart from the outside world, walls that contained a vast religious community and today contain a more modest one made up of the Convent of the Poor Clares and an order Grey Friars. The original church was in traditional Provencal-Gothic style, but was restored in the 17th-18th century in Baroque style by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. King's Robert's tomb is within the church, and bears the epitaph by Petrarch: Cernite Robertum regem virtute refertum, reminding the people to "consider Robert a King rich in virtue".
Via Benedetto Croce, Naples 80134, Italy.
The Church of Santa Chiara is a Gothic church/convent built between 1310 and 1328 for the wife of King Robert of Anjou. It is marked by a belfry that stands within the grounds at the northeast corner. The complex was expanded along Baroque lines in the 18th century. It was almost entirely destroyed by bombing in WW II and was restored to its original Gothic form in 1953.
On August 4, 1943, after 95 previous air raids on the city of Naples aimed primarily at military installations near the port and train station, the next attack accidentally hit the church and, as they say here, "destroyed six centuries in ten seconds." (Robert of Anjou built the original church in 1310.) The fire burned for 10 days; 159 persons were killed and 228 were wounded. The church was left a burned-out shell. The belfry on the grounds is the only part that escaped destruction. A plaque on the front of the church, itself, commemorates the reconstruction, finished in 1953.
The mayor of Naples attended the ceremony in the presence of young Franciscan monks, born many years after the event. The ceremony was a tribute to the reconstruction and, as well, to Brother Gaudenzio Dell'Aia, the monk who planned and supervised the work. The church was restored to its original Gothic state, undoing the architectural additions of those who came after the Angevins in the history of Naples. Luigi Ortaglio, the Franciscan who succeeded Dell'Aia as the head of the order in Naples, spoke at the ceremony and called the reconstruction a symbol of the "victory of peace over war" and compared it to resurrection, the rebirth that follows death.
Famous is the cloister of the Clarisses, transformed in 1742 by Vaccaro with the addition of precious majolica tiles in Rococo style. The Nuns' Choir houses fragments of frescoes by Giotto.
The lovely monastic courtyard in the rear of the church is the result of a renovation done by D.A. Vaccaro in the 1730s, apparently at the request of Maria Amalia di Sassonia, wife of Charles III of Bourbon, King of Naples. Complete restoration of the courtyard is still not complete, and if one considers the vast amount of work entailed (including the restoration of the frescos on the walls and ceilings of the arched passageways around the perimeter of the courtyard and the re-landscaping of the gardens) maybe it never will be, but the work done since the year 2000 has had significant results. Dozens of art restorers, masons, and gardeners have been at work.
The majolica tile work is characteristic of the school of Neapolitan ceramic from that period and was crafted by Donato Massa and his son, Giuseppe. Majolica is earthenware with a white tin glaze, decorated by applying colorants on the raw surface of white slip before firing. The high viscosity of the glaze restricts flow as the glaze melts; giving a glossy surface that maintains the line quality of the decoration. Majolica is the anglicized version of the Italian maiolica and refers only to tin-glazed and some lead-glazed ware of the 19th century.
The simple interior houses, behind the high altar, the tomb of King Robert and, in the side chapels, those of the Bourbon king of Naples, Francis II and his consort Marie Sophie, as well as of Queen Maria Cristina of Savoy (wife of Charles Felix of Sardinia) and of the national hero Salvo d'Acquisto (a carabiniere who sacrificed his own life to save the lives of 22 civilian hostages at the time of the Nazi occupation).
The Nativity Scene (Christmas Crib) kept inside the Monastery belongs to a collection of many made in Naples during the kingdom of Ferdinand IV, the Bourbon king. The king was in fact a big collector and used to commission important sculptors, like Giuseppe Sanmartino, author of the Veiled Christ, one of the most important Italian sculptural masterpieces of the 18th century.
This room hosts all the materials discovered during the excavations. The presence of a lead pipe is interesting also because it was used to get water from Serino's aqueduct, built during Augustus' period. There is also a portion of the old Roman bath. From the archaeological room is possible to get to the outdoor Archaeological Area and to the History Room.
This room shows the historic and artistic changes of the Basilica, in connection with the Cloister and the Monastery. There is a collection of objects coming from the Francescan Citadel: in particular, Roberto d Angio' and Sancia di Maiorca marble busts and Peace, a 16th-century valuable handicraft representing the Visitation, and the Revolving door.
The exposed pieces help in following the cultural development of Naples between 1300 and 1800. Most of the findings decorated Santa Chiara Church until the bombings in 1943. There is also the Fregio delle Storie di Santa Caterina bas-relief, mostly destroyed by the fire after the bombs. Along the pillars there is a sequence of friezes that in the past embellished the balconiess' balaustrade located for each cell. Thus, each cell has a different frieze representing a coat of arms (because the Royal Monastery hosted upper-class girls) and religious scenes.
The museum ends with the Reliquary room. This space displays very valuable reliquaries and holy vestments and almost-natural wooden sculptures natural scaled to a nativity. The refined wooden bust presenting Ecce Homo was made by Giovanni da Nola.
Monastery of St. Clare Excursions
National Archaeological Museum
The Naples National Archaeological Museum contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. There are some classic works of exceptional quality produced in Greek, Roman and Renaissance times. The core of the collection are the pieces from the Farnese set, including a collection of engraved gems. The "Treasure of the Magnificent" is an excellent example of the collection. It consists of gems collected by Cosimo de' Medici and Lorenzo il Magnifico in the 15th century.
The museum's classical sculpture collection comes from the Farnese Marbles. There are Roman copies of classical Greek sculpture, some of the only surviving indications of what the lost works by ancient Greek sculptors such as Calamis, Kritios and Nesiotes might have been like.
Also featured in the museum is the third largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Italy (after the Vatican Museum and the Museo Egizio in Turin). The collection was assembled from two private collections. Cardinal Borgia had an impressive collection from the second half of the 18th century. The second contributor was Picchianti in the first years of the 19th century. Egyptian and "pseudo-Egyptian" artefacts from Pompeii and other Campanian sites are also on display.
The museum is open every day, except Tuesday, from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
The building was completed sometime in the first years of the 17th century. It was then used as a cavalry barracks and the seat of the University of Naples from 1616 to 1777. The museum was restored and adapted in by the architect Ferdinando Fuga by Charles III of Spain in the 1750s.
The museum continued to be updated throughout the years. A second story was later added and at the turn of the century the Farnese collection was added. By 1816 the "Royal Bourbon Museum" had an impressive collections of works and was renowned throughout the land.
During the 19th century the museum continued to expand. Most of the new additions came from Campania or other areas of southern Italy. When Italy unified in 1860, the museum became state owned and was renamed the "National Museum".
National Archaeological Museum Excursion
Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace of Naples was built as the king of Spain Philip III was supposed to be coming to visit Naples and it was felt that the other royal residences were not suitable for a king to stay in. The Royal Palace was designed by Domenico Fontana. The 17th century palace visible today is, however, the result of numerous additions and changes, including some by Luigi Vanvitelli in the mid-18th century and then by Gaetano Genovese in 1838 after a fire had damaged much of the palace.
Palazzo Reale, Piazza Plebiscito, I-80132, Naples
The Royal Palace was designed by Domenico Fontana in 1600 close to the old Viceroy's Palace, later demolished in 1843. The Palace was planned on a large scale and in modern style by order of the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Count of Lemos and the Vicereine Caterina Zunica. Its long facade in brick and piperno with granite columns, pediments and Doric, Ionic and Corinthian pilasters is inspired by the structural and ornamental devices of the Roman culture that Fontana had experienced in Rome, where he had been called by Pope Sixtus V.
In the XVIII century it was restored by Luigi Vanvitelli. Some of the arches of the facade were filled with niches as the architect Vanvitelli thought that the palace was in danger of collapsing as it wasn't stable. Later Gioacchino Murat and Carolina Bonaparte decorated the royal palace with neoclassical furniture and porcelain (China ware). In 1837 a fire broke out and damaged the building. That is the reason why it was restored by Gaetano Genovese. It was damaged also during the last war and then it was renewed once again.
In 1841 the botanist Denhardt created the large garden extending to the north in accordance with the taste of the period: a XIX-century railing encloses both garden and stables. The entrance to the old riding ground is surmounted by bronze sculptures of two Horse trainers by Clodt Von Jurgenburg, a gift to Ferdinand II of Bourbon in 1846 from the Tsar of Russia. In 1888 the king of Italy, Umberto I placed in the arches of the facade 8 statues representing the most important kings of the various dynasties who ruled Naples over the centuries. they are Roger the Norman, Frederick II of Swabia, Charles I of Anjou, Alfonso I of Aragon, Charles V of Spain, Charles of Bourbon, Joachim Murat, Victor Emanuel II.
It later became a distant outpost of the Kingdom of Italy and the residence of the Princes of Piedmont. It was opened to the public in 1919, when it was included among the national institutes of antiquities and art. After its post-war restoration it is now presented as a "Historical Apartment".
It was the Old Ball Room turned into the Royal Theatre by Ferdinando Fuga in 1768. Half destroyed by a bomb during the last war, it was restored in the middle of this century. It was transformed into the Royal Theatre when the king Ferdinand IV of Bourbon married Maria Carolina of Austria. It is decorated in rococo style and the paper-pulp statues surrounding the hall represent the Muses, Minerva, Apollon and Mercury. In 1994 the G7 members met in that room.
The Throne Room
The Throne room is in Empire style and dates back to the year 1850. In the vault there are 14 female figures symbolizing the various districts of the Bourbon Kingdom. In front of the throne there is portait of Ferdinand I of Bourbon who is pointing out the church of San Francesco di Paola, which is in front of the Royal Building. On the right and on the left of the throne two paintings represent the ambassadors of Tripoli and of Turkey. In the same room another painting showes Victor Emanuel III, king of Naples, when he was a boy: he was born in that building in 1869. The chandelier is made of crystal from Bohemia.
The Great Capitan's Room
This room is dedicated to Don Salvo de Cordoba, the Spanish captain who conquered the Kingdom of Naples in 1503. Since then Naples was no longer the capital of the kingdom but just the capital of one of the Spanish dominions. The vault was painted by Battistello Caracciolo and it represents the great captain. In the same room a precious portrait of Pier Luigi Farnese by Tiziano Vecellio is kept.
Room of Maria Cristina
The apartments that were still lived in until 1837 are reached via the Room of Maria Cristina (originally room where the King dresses with the ceiling frescoed by De Mura). On the ceiling of the next room are the Deeds of the Condottiere Gonzalo de Cordoba against the French by Battistello Caracciolo; on the walls is the tapestry Allegory of Modesty created by the Royal factories to a cartoon by Francesco de Mura.
Room of Hercules
The Room of Hercules, where balls and receptions were held, displays the large bronze clock with Atlas bearing the globe, (made in France in the XVIII century). A suite of back rooms giving onto the ambulatory of the loggia are variously decorated by XVIII and XIX-century Neapolitan artists.
In the eastern part of the loggia is the Palatine Chapel, built from 1646 onwards, and altered between 1808-15 by Antonio De Simone and then by Gaetano Genovese, and, more insensitively, after World War II; inside is a high altar from the church of St Teresa agli Studi, after a drawing by Dionisio Lazzari, and, on the ceiling, Our Lady of the Assumption by Domenico Morelli.
Royal Palace Museum Excursion
Certosa di San Martino (St. Martin's Charterhouse)
The National Museum of S. Martino is Naples' most varied and surprising museum; rich in artistic beauty, curiosity and various elements of style, it offers a marvelous panorama from its windows and terraces. Built on the hill of the Vomero, at the foot of the Castle of S. Elmo, it contains an 18th century church with its various sacristies, which are rich in the works of art, so that it is almost a gallery of Neapolitan art of its times. A fine cloister, the work of Cosimo Fanzago, other small cloisters, long rooms which record the history of Naples, models of ships, festive coaches, jewelry, records of the theatre of Pulcinella, folk costumes and uniforms, Abruzzo majolica, the shepherds from the cribs etc., are among the collections to be found here.
Certosa di San Martino (St. Martin's Charterhouse) Excursion
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte
The Palace and Museum of Capodimonte is a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples, Italy, formerly the summer residence of the kings of the Two Sicilies. It houses the main museum and art gallery of the city. This Museum, opened in 1950, houses works of art ranging from the 13th to the 18th century which belonged to the Farnese family and which were then inherited by the Bourbon family. The "Roman Collection" that includes works of art by Michelangelo, Tiziano, El Greco, Raffaello and Botticelli is an essential part of any visit.
Via Miano 2
It was built at the command of Charles VII, king of Naples and Sicily (later Charles III, king of Spain) and started in 1738 after a design by Giovanni Antonio Medrano, who was also the architect of Naples' beautiful opera house, the Teatro San Carlo. King Charles built it expressly to house the fabulous Farnese art collection which he had inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese, last descendant of the sovereign ducal family of Parma.
Ferdinand IV, successor of Carlo, entrusted the widening of the Reggia and the cure of the park to the architect Ferdinando Fuga. Its classical-stately style, typical of the great European courts and its solemn and grand structure show the celebrative and encomiastic intents of the ruling dynasty.
The destiny of the Reggia did not change with the accession of the Savoia family, after the reunion of Italy. At the end of the eighteenth century, a true Gallery of Modern Art, made up of paintings and sculptures by living Neapolitan artists, was created in some halls of the palace. In 1920, the palace passed from the Crown to the State property. The revival of its exhibit function took place in 1957.
It is the prime repository of Neapolitan and general Italian cultural heritage in the city. The first and second floors house the Galleria Nazionale (National Gallery), with paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries including major works by Simone Martini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco and many others.
The construction of the Real Palace of Capodimonte was undertaken in 1738, in the adjacent area to Omonimo the Forest where in the 1734 Carl di Borbone it had decided to create one large game preserve and one residence of Court, in evocative panoramic position on the gulf and the below city. The building is developed in longitudinal sense, through the succession in axis of three goes porticati and intercommunicating courtyards, opened towards the outside with wide fornici; the two prospects introduce rigorous facades in strict dorico style and of measured neocinquecentesco taste, ritmate from strong membrature in piperno gray, wise contrasting with the red Neapolitan of the walls intonacate, and from the succession of wide windows to the noble plan and of smaller openings to the other levels.
Farnese Collection The Farnese collection, the oldest collection and in a sense the nucleus of the museum, consists of works collected from the middle of the 16th century until the beginning of the 18th. Some of the greatest luminaries of the history of painting are gathered here, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Brueghel.
When Charles inherited the marvelous Farnese collection from his mother, Elisabeth Farnese, he wanted to place it in the new palace. Built in 1816, a great part of the collection was transferred to the National Museum, where the paintings, bronzes and Pompeii statues stood. Now the collection has been restored to its original home, so leaving more space for the archeological collection of the National Museum.
The collections go therefore on two distinguished branches: the Roman collection, comprehensive of more works that artists legacies to the Farnese from relationships of customer (Raffaello, Sebastiano Del Piombo, Tiziano, El Greco, the Carracci brothers, Botticelli) and conserved in the palace of Family near Campo dei Fiori, with to the great ancient statue, currently in The National Archaeological Museum; and the Parmesan collection exposed at the end of 1600's in the palace of the Pilotta in Parma, with one important presence of works of emilian school, let alone a great number of Flemish paintings.
Picture Gallery Among the pictures are the monumental Crucifixion by Masaccio, Botticelli's Madonna with Angels, the famous Gypsy by Correggio, Giambellino's Transfiguration, Sebastiano del Piombo's Clement VII, and the wonderful portraits by Parmigianino and Titian. There are also works by Raphael, Pinturicchio, Luca Signorelli, Goya, Perugino, Simone Martini, Colantonio, and Bruegel. One of the picture gallery's greatest possessions is Simone Martini's Coronation, depicting the brother of Robert of Anjou being crowned king of Naples by the bishop of Toulouse
Paintings The museum preserves also a series of paintings coming from Neapolitan churches, among them two Caravaggio masterpieces. In the rooms of the museum one can admire paintings from the Ligurian - Provencal school, from Tuscany and Verona of the Fifteenth century, from the Emilia and Veneto schools of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries; works by mannerists and Flemishes of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries and a rich collection of Neapolitan school of Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries.
Rooms The most important room is literally filled with the works of Renaissance masters, notably an Adoration of the Child, by Luca Signorelli; a Madonna and Child, by Perugino; a panel by Raphael; a Madonna and Child with Angels, by Botticelli; and, the most beautiful, Filippino Lippi's Annunciation and Saints. In one room are Raphael's Holy Family and St. John and a copy of his celebrated portrait of Pope Leo X. Two choice sketches are Raphael's Moses and Michelangelo's Three Soldiers. Displayed farther are the Titians, with Danae taking the spotlight from Pope Paul III. Another room is devoted to Flemish art: Pieter Bruegel's Blind Men is outstanding and his Misanthrope is devilishly powerful. Other foreign works include Joos van Cleve's Adoration of the Magi. You can climb the stairs for a panoramic view of Naples and the bay, a finer landscape than you'll see inside.
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte Excursion
Museo Principe Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes
The Museum was created in 1955 when the princess Rosina Pignatelli donated the park and villa, together with all its furnishings and collections to the Italian State. It displays a variety of furniture, domestic objects, silverware, ornaments and furnishings in bronze, small bronze statues and statuettes and porcelain, all of which demonstrate the interests of the Pignatelli family.
The grand staircase leading to the upper floor takes you to a collection of art from the Bank of Naples with treasures from the 16th to the 19th century.
The basement floor, completely restructured, host's conferences exhibitions and cultural initiatives. Since 1960 the old stables have housed the Mario d'Alessandro di Civitanova Carriage Museum. The rooms in the villa were decorated and furnished in accordance with the refined taste of the Pignatelli family: the sumptuous ballroom and elegant salons filled with photographs and precious porcelain and majolica; the library hung with leather and gold; a dining room with the tableware of the Pignatelli family.
Riviera di Chiaia, 200 - 80121 Naples (NA).
History The origin of the Pignatelli Aragona Cortes ("PAC") branch of the family is linked to James I, King of Aragon 1208-1276. His direct descendant, Federico, 3.rd King of Sicily (1250-1296), had a common law son, Orlando d'Aragona (b. 1280,) who became Viceroy of Sicily and was given the title of Signore (Lord) di Avola, later elevated to Marques of Avola.
Maria Concessa d'Aragona (probably around the year 1500 AD)- the only surviving descendant of Orlando d'Aragona - married Giovanni Tagliavia, first Marchese and later Duca di Terranova, who became - on the basis of Spanish law (i.e. the daughters transmitted titles and estates if there were no male heirs) - Giovanni d'Aragona Tagliavia. In 1648 Diego - a direct descendant of said Giovanni - married Stefania Cortes, the only surviving descendant of Hernan Cortes, the Conqueror of Mexico, and thus became Diego d'Aragona Cortes Tagliavia.
Diego and Stefania's daughter, Giovanna, married Ettore IV Pignatelli (1620-1674) who thus became Ettore Pignatelli Aragona Cortes. The surname of Tagliavia was dropped at that time, rather unfairly, as several, but indeed not all, of the properties and titles - including the title of Prince of the Holy Empire - came to the Pignatellis (the "PAC" branch) via the family Tagliavia Aragona Cortes.
Nicolo's II and Giovanna's II direct descendant, Giuseppe ("PAC"), (1795-1859), Duca di Terranova and Marques de la Valle de Oaxaca, had two sons, Diego sr., who died without children, and Antonio (1827-1881) who had three sons. Diego sr. bought in 1848 from the Rothchilds the Villa Acton in Naples, which is now Villa Pignatelli, and left it at his death to his nephew Diego (1862-1930): it has become in 1961 the Museum Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes as a result of the donation of the Villa to the State by Annamaria ("PAC"), his daughter.
Rodolfo was Counselor of the Norman King, William the Wise, and his ambassador in 1156 to Pope Adrian IV for the investiture of the Kingdom of Sicily. Bartolomeo Pignatelli, Bishop of Cosenza, mentioned in the Purgatory of Dante's Divine Commedy, was ambassador of Pope Bonifazio VIII in 1264 to the King of France for the purpose of inviting Charles of Anjou to become King of Naples. Ettore I (b. 1465-1535) was 1st Duca di Monteleone, Capitan General of Emperor Charles V and viceroy of Sicily. He remained famous for his valour in war against the French and for the draconian repressions of various rebellions carried out under his leadership in Sicily and in Monteleone.
Fabrizio (circa 1510-1570) fought the Turkish pirates in Southern Italy and the French armies in Sicily. He founded the famous Pellegrini Hospital in Naples.
Ettore II, Duca di Monteleone (circa 1585- 1615), Grandee of Spain, Knight of the Toson d'Oro, Captain General of Spain and Viceroy of Catalunja. Fra' Tommaso Pignatelli (1605-1634), Dominican monk, was the common law son of the Principe di Noja. After being repeatedly tortured in order to extract from him a confession - an unsuccessful attempt - the High Court of Inquisition found him guilty of alleged rebellion against the Spaniards and alleged heresy and was executed with the "garrota" in the Castel dell'Ovo in Naples.
Nicolo' (1648-1730), Grandee of Spain, Captain General and Viceroy of Sicily, Grand Admiral and Great Constable of the Kingdom of Spain. Cardinal Antonio Pignatelli, former Apostolic Delegate to Poland and later Archbishop of Naples, was elected Pope in 1691 as Innocent XII. He issued the "Bulla" abolishing nepotism and remained famous also for the public works carried out under his reign, such as: the ports of Civitavecchia and Anzio, near Rome, the Via Appia Pignatelli, a road parallel to the Ancient Appian Way, the road leading up to the Campidoglio in Rome, the Palace of Montecitorio - presently housing the Italian Parliament - the huge home for the old age people along the river Tiber: San Michele, the restoration of the road leading up to the Rome Capitol Hill.
Don Ramon Pignatelli ("PAC"") Fuentes built in Saragoza (Spain) a huge and impressive palace, commonly called "El Pignatelli". It is presently the seat of the Generalidad (i.e. Government) of the Aragona Region.
Saint Joseph Pignatelli (1737-1811), Gesuit, of the Pignatelli Aragona Cortes y Fuentes - the Spanish branch - whom the Gesuit Order regards as the second founder (in 1805) of the Gesuit Order which had been disbanded in the early 1700.
Between 1624 and 1950 there were seven Pignatelli Cardinals in the Sacred College (in addition to the aforementioned Cardinal Antonio Pignatelli who became Pope Innocent XII). Several members of the Pignatelli Aragona Cortes were Grandees of Spain, Viceroys of Sicily, Sardinia, Catalunja, Grand Admirals of the Spanish Kingdom and ten of them, between 1585 and 1801, received - for services rendered to the Holy Roman Empire, to Spain and to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - the Order of the Toson d'Oro, the highest recognition then awarded by Holy Roman Emperors and Kings of Spain.
The Pignatelli Aragona Cortes acquired the right to display the Toson d'Oro on the family coat of arms. The motto in Latin of the Pignatelli Aragona Cortes family was inherited from Hernan Cortes: "Iudicium Domini apprehended eos et fortitude eius corroboravit brachium meum".
Museo Principe Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes Excursion
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