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The Hidden Gems of Naples

 

       Naples is a city full of secret treasures: let’s discover them together!

St. Luciella ai Librai

A short walk from the crowded Via San Gregorio Armeno, there is this small wonder nestled in the alleys of the old town.

The first room that you’ll see, with its precious plan of original maioliche and Neapolitan manufacture, hides a real treasure below: you will descend towards a small, but austere room totally used as holy land, a real small private cemetery.

The atmosphere here is very evocative, and becomes unique when the gaze rests on the famous “skull with ears”: a small skull, here to hear the pains and prayers of the Neapolitan people.

We are lucky enough to visit this unique place, thanks to our friends of the cultural association RespiriamoArte: after years of sacrifices and hard work, they have managed to make available to all of us this magical place, mirror of the soul of Naples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Anna dei Lombardi

The large facade, restored after the war, opens to a chest full of priceless treasures.

Crossing the great aisle opens to an elegant and refined scene: the side chapels are examples of the highest Renaissance of Tuscan origin in Naples.But it’s all yet to be discovered!

The great “Lamentation On Dead Christ”, by Guido Mazzoni, an impressive sculptural complex in its realistic and dramatic rendering.

The Old Sacristy, almost entirely decorated by Giorgio Vasari, dazzles and sinks the spectator in its timeless beauty.

Finally, the surprise, once again, is below: from the choir you can reach a Crypt, decorated with surprisingly intact frescoes, surrounded by drained seats; on the top, small and precious cases contain the mortal remains of nobles of Naples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

St. Chiara Cloister

Among the narrow and chaotic streets of the ancient center of Naples, there is a hidden treasure to discover!

Over to the austere aspect of St. Chiara Basilica, there’s the access to the most precious part of the monumental complex: the Cloister of the Clarisse, also called the Cloister of the Maioliche.

You will immediately sink yourself in a unique atmosphere: an almost mystical peace will guide you to a riot of colors and precious decorations.

Domenico Antonio Vaccaro was the Neapolitan architect who cared about the new look of the cloister: while leaving intact its original Gothic structure, he created in the central part two large internal avenues dividing the old cloister into four sectors – two arranged in italian garden with hedges and fountains, and two destined for citrus.

The pillars and walls were covered with beautiful polychrome maiolicas in rococo taste made by the Neapolitan “riggiolari” Donato and Giuseppe Massa, taking up floral and vegetable motifs.

Especially on shining sun days, visiting this wonderful place really allows you to daydream!

St. Eligio Maggiore Complex

Among the crowded and chaotic streets of the ancient maritime area of Naples, you will be surprised at this majestic complex, the one of Sant’Eligio Maggiore.

It is right next to the famous Piazza Mercato: it is a very important and recurring place in the history of Naples, as it was the square intended for executions that, very often, marked the end or the beginning of the historical phases of the city.

The medieval shapes of the church are still perfectly distinguishable: beyond the side portal, which proudly shows the Gothic decoration, you get inside a large sacred room, divided into three aisles.

The appearance of the church is austere and rigorous, lightely shining by the openings of the absidal area. O

utside, a large arch completely leans on the side buildings, and shows a large “two-sided” clock: on one side, the two-hand clock traditionally marks the hour. On the other side, the dial retains only a hand: there time stopped on March 28, 1943, when in the nearby port a large ship exploded, hitting many workers and passers-by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underground Museum of Naples

Several times we have told you about the ancient origins of our city: already the Greeks sensed the great wealth of the Neapolitan subsoil, extracting imposing blocks of tuff, then useful to realize the walls of the city to protect the city center.
The succession of dominations also plotted this custom, with the progressive expansion of the walls: the excavations were reused and transformed into aqueducts and tanks.
Much later, during war times, the Neapolitan underground became a real refuge: it hosted for years thousands and thousands of people who loved each other, hated, married, who shared political passions, ideas and even births and deaths.
The thick tuff composing the ancient tanks during the SecondWorldWar saved thousands of lives.

The Complex of Incurabili

The maximum decumano, road artery that runs through the last part of the ancient center of Naples, is perhaps one of the least traveled areas by visitors… But that preserves a real treasure chest!

Above all, the most fascinating is the complex of the Incurables. Its precious and fragile gem is her Pharmacy: a small building, whose entrance is accessible by a flashy double flight of stairs.

Upon entering, time seems to stop: almost completely intact, it still retains the original shelving, on which the precious vases – which contained the “ingredients” of medical recipes , are still laid.

From the ceiling – enriched by a precious canvas that covers it in full, to the shelving, to the decking of both rooms – in precious majolicate terracotta: in an environment dedicated to medical care, here is the triumph of Neapolitan decorativeism, in its most dazzling era.

 

 

 

Sansevero Chapel – The Veiled Christ

It would not be enough a few lines to describe everything: creativity, dynastic pride, science and mystery blend perfectly into a unique atmosphere.

From the precious floor, to the refined decoration of the ceiling, passing through the rich sculptural kit that surrounds every corner of the chapel. In the underground cavea, the two large anatomical machines always: two enigmatic presences offer themselves to the sight of all, examples of a great and lively scientific attention.

The undisputed protagonist is always the Veiled Christ: an emotional portrait of the body of Christ lying, whose images have gone around the world thanks to the impressive greatness of the details.

Everything celebrates the genius of Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero: enlightened, patron, alchemist, literary, Neapolitan academic who has made his family chapel a real kingdom. From the entrance to the exit, you will be completely overwhelmed by his fascinating and mysterious world.

 


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