Church Santa Chiara, Naples
The famous Cloister of the Poor Clares (Santa Chiara) in Naples is on the left side of the church.The center of the cloisters set off by rows of pillars and set with benches decorated with majolica scenes mostly near the water.
Adjacent to the Basilica di Santa Chiara, this complex consists of a convent and a monastery (Franciscan/Clarist). It was built together with the basilica in the 14th century, over the ruins of the Roman Baths of Neapolis, and much like the basilica, the rest of the complex underwent a transformation in 1742 by Domenico Vaccaro. Whereas the architect altered the church into a rich Baroque design, he retained the Gothic character of the cloisters, though he had the arched porticoes of the large cloister, il Chiostro delle Clarisse, painted by Donato and Giuseppe Massa with the most striking frescoes in Naples. Two intersecting paths in the courtyard were flanked by octagonal columns covered in painted majolica tiles. The beautiful and peaceful Chiostro delle Clarisse, with its mix of styles - pointed Gothic arches, colourful Baroque frescoes, Rococo majolica tiles - and citrus trees was my absolute favourite place in Napoli. The cloister gives access to a small museum (Museo dell'Opera di Santa Chiara), which shows the ruins of the Roman Baths along with artwork from the church.
For more photos of this beautiful cloister, take a look at the travelogue: "il Chiostro di Santa Chiara."
Part of the monastic complex of Santa Chiara, this Basilica is one of the most important in Naples. It was commissioned by Roberto d’Angiò (Robert of Anjou) and his wife in 1310 and was chosen to hold the tombs of the Angevin dynasty. The spacious basilica was originally designed in a Mediaeval Neapolitan Gothic style, but as was typical later in the 17th century, the basilica was altered to the tastes of the times and was embellished in a richly decorated Baroque design by the architect, Antonio Vaccaro. Sadly, on the 4th June 1943 during WWII, Allied bombings of Naples almost completely destroyed the Basilica di Santa Chiara. The restoration work that ensued after the war brought the basilica back to its original Gothic design, rather than the 17th century Baroque. Among the interesting features in its interior are the Royal tombs and the unique use of rounded arches in a Gothic design. The bell tower was constructed in 1328, but took nearly two centuries to complete, which is the reason why it diverges architecturally from the rest of the basilica, having a more Renaissance look. When visiting Santa Chiara, one must absolutely also visit the cloister and museum in the back (see next tip).
In the Centro Storico are a large number of beautiful churches all within walking distance of one another.
The Duomo is a must (Via del Duomo & Via Tribunali). The Baroque interior is awesome with several side areas to see also. The whole place is huge and rather sober for the style.
For an alternative to see Baroque at its most exuberant go to Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo (West end of Via B Croce). An almost grim exterior hides an absolute riot of colour and OTT decoration, my favourite.
Across from Gesu Nuovo is Santa Chiara, see the church which is mostly rebuilt after a bomb in 1941 and is failrly simple. But the real treasure here is the cloister behind the Church. For a small fee enter the Museum behind the Church. This magical place is covered in colourful majolica tiles from around 1742.
In the south east corner of the Piazza del Gesù you’ll see the tall campanile of the Chiesa Santa Chiara. We didn’t go into the large church (as with the Gesù Nuovo Sunday Mass was being said) but did visit the cloisters of the next door monastery – a visit I would highly recommend. Not only is this a beautifully peaceful spot in this manic city, but the decoration is stunning – both the painted friezes on the walls and even more so the 18th century majolica covered columns, seats and dividing walls. Every scene is different, and while the main paintings show largely religious scenes (bible stories, saints etc.), many of the images in the tilework are of domestic and rural life – see photo 2 for an example.
You’ll also find an excellent 18th century example of the nativity scenes for which Naples is famous; this one is from a collection of many made in Naples during the kingdom of Ferdinand IV, the Bourbon king. See photo 4 (although it didn’t come out as well as I’d have liked) and check out my Local Customs tip for more on these crib scenes.
There is also a well-presented museum with archaeological objects and information on the history of the church. Outside in the courtyard, when we visited was an excellent exhibition of photographs about faith, with beautiful images from all over the world.
Entry costs €5 and is well worth it. If you can’t get here though, the website below is very informative (in four languages) and nicely designed.
Santa Chiara is a fourteenth century convent. The church was heavily bombed in the 2nd World War. The most interesting part is however the cloister (separate entrance round the corner) which was decorated with majolica tiles in the 18th century.
When we visited, a range of interesting metal sculptures were also being exhibited in the cloister, which added a rather surreal element.
Admission to the cloister also includes a small museum about the history of the church and the restoration.
On Piazza del Gesù in Spaccanapoli there is the Chiesa Santa Chiara with adjacent monastery. The church (Gothic style) has been built in the early 14th century. In the 18th century the interior of the church had been changed but the church was almost completely destroyed during the second world war. It has been rebuilt afterwards.
Church of Santa Chiara was built in a Provencal – Gothic style. After that it was converted to the Baroque style and in the Second World War was destroyed during bombing. Later renovation restored its original shape. This church was very unusual for me because, its creation of the fine rustic garden and wonderful decorations with mythological and landscapes scenes. The columns and benches are very picturesque.
The cloisters of St Clare were designed by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro in 1742. The cloisters are lined with four paths to its centre with arbors that are supported by columns, each of which is plated with colorfully painted majolica tiles; interspersed among the columns are tiled benches. The convent is also home to the Museo dell'Opera di Santa Chiara (Santa Chiara Museum of Works) and a small Roman bath house dating to around AD 1. Admission is approx 4€.
The church was commissioned by Robert of Anjou for his wife Sancia and was built in 1310 by Gagliardo Primario. It was heavily bombed during World War II but reconstruction uncovered the original Gothic structure. The tombs of the Angevin monarchs are housed here including Robert the Wise (died 1343), his son Charles of Calabria (died 1328) and Charles' wife Mary of Valois (died 1331).
Santa Chiara is located after Gesù Square (on the right side watching the church) and it comprehends the homonymous church and the nearby buildings. It’s a great example of Neapolitan Gothic style. The building was ordered by Sancia of Mayorca, wife of King Roberto d’Angiò, and built between 1310 and 1328 by Gagliardo Primario in the gothic-provencal style, with strong local influence. The use of yellow sandstone and piperno greystone (made of volcano lava) is typical in neapolitan landscape. The only decorative elements of the facade are the central “rose window” and the border of the main entrance. The interior is a single hall with side chapels carved out of the central nave. Nothing remains of the rebuilding work done in the eighteenth century which brought the trim up to date with the Baroque style of the day, or the decoration work that was destroyed in the fire caused by the bombing of August 4th, 1943, during the World War II. The post-war restoration work re-instated the original gothic structure. The collection of sculptures, originally very ornate due to the fact that Santa Chiara belonged to the Angevin court (who erected there the family tomb), suffered considerable damage.
The Cloister is in the “Clarisse” convent, behind the Curch ; its octagonal pillars and its benchstones were covered with painted majolicas. When you enter this place , you have the sensation to turn back through time, enveloped by the silence of a Gothic monastery of 14th century.
PRICE FOR CLOISTER:
[Egicom05 – by Elisir]
This church originated in 1300 and was restored after the Second World War during which it was damaged in air-raid bombing. It was returned to its original Provencal Gothic style. The funeral monument of Robert I of Anjou is to be noted. In the nearby Convent in Piazza del Gesù, there is a wonderful majolica-tiled Cloister to be seen.
This altar is a very good fit with the medieval atmosphere of the rest of the church. It is a relief from the excesses of baroque of many other Italian churches. All there is is stone and wood, making it a very sobre and religious place. The church is in the centre of via dei Capitelli, Staccanapoli.
This beautiful medieval building was built in the beginning of the 14th century, and also has a convent. It has been beautifully restored to a very minimal decoration, giving it a superbly austere mood. It is nothing like any other church in the city, and provides a good idea of the style before the Renaissance changed everything in religious art and architecture. It is in the centre of via dei Capitelli, Staccanapoli.
This church was built in the early 14th century on orders from Robert the Wise, king of Naples. It became the church for the House of Anjou. Though heavily blasted during WWII, it has been restored to its original look, a Gothic style favored by the Provencal architects. The light-filled interior is lined with chapels, which contains a bit of sculpture or fresco from the medieval church, but the best three pieces line the wall behind the High Altar. In the center is the towering multilevel tomb of Robert the Wise d'Angio, sculpted by Giovanni and Pacio Bertini in 1343. To its right is Tino di Camaino's tomb of Charles, duke of Calabria; and on the left is the 1399 monument to Mary of Durazza. In the choir behind the altar are more salvaged medieval remnants of frescoes and statuary, including bits of a Giotto Crucifixion. To the left of the church is the one of Naple's top sight - the 14th century Cloisters of the Orders of the Clares (Chiostri delFOrdine di Santa Chiara. On the piazza outside is one of Naples's several baroque spires, the Gugia dell’ Immacolata, a tall pile of statues and reliefs sculpted in 1750.