Great Reasons To Visit The Beautiful Monasteries in Naples

Jun 22, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Blog


The lovely town of Naples in southern Italy is one of the places in this delightful part of the world that just has to be explored. The historical significance of Naples is evident wherever you happen to look. It is rich in so many ways and architecturally it has to be one of the most beautiful places on the entire planet, in fact the historic centre of Naples is now listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and when you first see it, you can really understand why.

Monastero di S.Gregorio Armeno. Napoli. from Zingaro. I am a gipsy too

Monastero di S.Gregorio Armeno. Napoli. from Zingaro. I am a gipsy too

There are an amazing 448 historical churches alone in Naples but there are other very important buildings and monuments that date back to medieval times and this includes castles right through to classical ruins. Fantastic architecture abounds in Naples with superb examples of the medieval period, Renaissance and Baroque. It is a town that when you explore it, you just have to stop occasionally to take in all the marvellous things that you see.

The churches are not the only religious buildings that are astoundingly beautiful in this part of Italy. The monasteries that are situated in around Naples are just unbelievably grand. There are even some which offer accommodation but these wonderful historical sites are definitely worth visiting and spending a few hours exploring.

One of the most beautiful monasteries to visit here in Naples is the Santa Chiara Monastery where you will find the most exquisite cloister gardens. These gardens remained a hidden secret for decades because the order of nuns who inhabited this delightful monastery had taken a vow of seclusion, so not many people ever got to see them, until that is, the nuns moved to another location, next door in fact, and in 1924 the gardens were opened to some philosophers, intellectuals and a chosen few who were invited to the monastery by its new occupants, the Franciscan Friars. By the 70’s a wider public had the fortune of visiting these cloistered gardens and since then these superb examples of exquisitely kept gardens have been visited by many travellers who come to Naples to discover the beauty of the area. If you are in Naples, you just have to go to visit them. You will find the Santa Chiara Monastery in Via Santa Chiara 49C. The gardens are open every day but are closed at lunchtime.

If you want to see the surrounding areas of Naples and take in a tour of a really superb monastery, then the Camaldolese Hermitage of Monte Giove, is well worth a trip to. This monastery is close to Naples in Campania and is one of the monasteries in the region that is still an active monastery. Its location is quite unique as it sits on a hill behind Naples and has a superb vantage point of the city.

This huge monastery sits proudly between Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegrean Fields, so the vistas are really quite something. There are many fabulous art treasure housed here with paintings by Francesco Francanzano and Giordano. Not all of the monastery is open to the public, but there is a part that it is, and if you are very lucky you may even get to visit the lovely gardens that overlook Naples giving a splendid vista of the entire city.

The monastery complex of San Martino is another site that has to be visited. The complex dates back to the 14th century and is absolutely splendid architecturally. It sits on top of the Vomero Hill near to the Sant’Elmo Castle, so the location is absolutely stunning. The vistas from this vantage point are excellent with lovely views of Naples and the bay of Naples.

There’s a tremendous amount of treasure to see here, including the former living quarters of the monks who once resided at the monastery. The cloisters and gardens are delightful, yet very impressive too. The whole place is just full of wondrous things which include some really wonderful frescoes, but it is the grandness of the portico with its marble columns and a mosaic floor which is to say the least superb. Definitely one to put on your list of monasteries that have to be visited.

If like me you love the sheer size of these huge buildings and the freshness that you feel when you enter them, then these historically important religious monasteries are really worth visiting. And this is so true of the monastery/church complex of San Giovanni. It was founded in 1345 by the Augustinians and today it houses some of the best sculptures and artwork of the region. The frescoes found here too are superb and were done by Perinetto da Benevento and Leonardo da Besozzo. There is also a sepulchre by Ciccione of Sergianni Caracciolo which is very noteworthy.

With such a vast choice of monasteries to visit, you have to include the Sant’Anna dei Lombardi on your list of places to visit in Naples. This was once the largest monastery complex in the whole of Italy and today it houses many works of art and treasures that come from all over the land. There are paintings by Giorgio Vasari and Pedro Rubiales and a terracotta sculpture by Guido Mazzoni. It is here you will discover the tomb of Domenica Fontana, a famous Swiss born Italian architect who lived during the late renaissance period.

The sheer peacefulness and calm atmospheres of these wonderful monasteries as well as the superb architecture and treasures they house, takes visitors back to an era when life went at a much slower pace. They are wonderful places to spend a little bit of time in, not only to see all the wonderful artworks but to get the feel of the buildings themselves. On a hot day in Naples, there could be nothing nicer than entering the cool interior of a monastery to just sit and marvel at the structures, the treasures and the superb lush green gardens that have been looked after so immaculately for centuries.



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