Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

The Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Naples Sights

Certosa di San Martino

  • Piazzale San Martino 5 Map It
  • Vomero
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 12/12/2013

Fodor's 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.

Read More

Sight Information

Address:

Piazzale San Martino 5, Naples, 80129, Italy

Map It

Phone:

081-2294589

Sight Details:

  • €6
  • Thurs.–Tues. 9–7:30 (ticket office closes at 6:30); Christmas crèches Thurs.–Mon.; some rooms occasionally closed for lack of staffing

Updated 12/12/2013

Advertisement

Map View

Map of



What's Nearby

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Sights

See all sights in The Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Naples

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?

Experience

Ease

Value

Don't Miss

Advertisement