- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Italian Phrases
Fodor's Italy 2014
Certosa di San Martino
Certosa di San Martino Review
Atop a rocky promontory with a fabulous view of the entire city and majestic salons that would please any monarch, the Certosa di San Martino is a monastery that seems more like a palace. In fact, by the 18th century Ferdinand IV was threatening to halt the religious order's government subsidy, so sumptuous was this certosa, or charter house, which had been started in 1325. Although the Angevin heritage can be seen in the pointed arches and cross-vaulted ceiling of the Certosa Church, over the years dour Gothic was traded in for varicolored Neapolitan Baroque.
The sacristy leads into the Cappella del Tesoro, with Luca Giordano's ceiling fresco of Judith holding aloft Holofernes's head and the painting by Il Ribera (the Pietà over the altar is one of his masterpieces). The polychrome marble work of the architect and sculptor Cosimo Fanzago (1591–1678) is at its finest here, and he displays a gamut of sculptural skills in the Chiostro Grande (Great Cloister). Fanzago's ceremonial portals at each corner of the cloister are among the most spectacular of all Baroque creations, aswirl with Michelangelo-esque ornament.
The nearby Museo dell’Opera, not always open, contains sociological-themed rooms that add up to a chronological tour of the city. One room has 13 gouaches of Vesuvius, and another has paintings depicting the Plague.
The Quarto del Priore (Prior's Quarters), the residence of the only monk allowed contact with the outside world, is an extravaganza of salons filled with frescoes, majolica-tile floors, and paintings, plus extensive gardens where scenic pergolati (roofed balconies) overlook the bay.
Entering from the Quarto del Priore side, you come upon two splendid gilded coaches and then the "Vessels of the King" museum, beyond which lie two rooms with Early Renaissance masterpieces; subsequent rooms hold works by later artists, including the tireless Luca Giordano. Past the library, with its heavenly majolica-tile floor, comes the Sezione Presepiale, the world’s greatest collection of Christmas cribs. Pride of place goes to the Presepe (Nativity scene) of Michele Cucineniello. Equally amazing in its own way is a crib inside an eggshell.
- Address: Piazzale San Martino 5, Vomero, Naples, 80129 | Map It
- Phone: 081/2294589
- Cost: €6
- Hours: Thurs.–Tues. 9–7:30 (ticket office closes at 6:30); Christmas crèches Thurs.–Mon.; some rooms occasionally closed for lack of staffing
- Website: www.polomusealenapoli.beniculturali.it
- Metro Vanvitelli.
- Location: Naples
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
February 2014 Sicily Trip Report
We found February an excellent time to travel to Sicily. Read more
Well, here we are finally in Sorrento. Read more
Staying in Rome for 5 nights, family of 5. Read more
· News & Features
This week, we covered top destinations for great family getaways—from Disney World to dinosaur spotting. ... Read more
Go on location in Görlitz, Germany, to the transporting set of director Wes Anderson's film... Read more
Kick off spring with some of this year's best events and hotel packages in Washington, D.C.... Read more