The Monastery of Santa Chiara is one of the most famous churches in Naples and perhaps one of the most loved by the Neapolitans themselves. His external sobriety hides a rich and precious heart. Its majolica cloister is an unexpected and contrasting little treasure with the sobriety of the large church in the heart of the historic center of Naples.
Even if the weather is cloudy, a weak beam of light perfectly illuminates the center of the kiosk and reflects on the majolica making them shine.
The wonderful cloister was designed by Antonio Vaccaro in 1739, he kept the Gothic line of the whole complex but the majolica embellished it.
In Neapolitan these tiles are called Riggiole and were the work of the genius of Donato and Giuseppe Massa.
The riggiole, however, do not represent sacred images but rather, reflect the daily life of Naples of the time; a sort of window on the world, the only one available to the Poor Clares, devoted to the cloister.
The beautiful columns are instead surrounded by majolica that represent grape shoots symbol of a generous and lush nature .
It surrounds the majolica cloister, a large porch completely frescoed with Franciscan stories and walls, always covered with colorful majolica
In the original project, the entrance to the cloister was made by the Church of Santa Chiara, a large staircase, rather high lets glimpse all the beauty of the cloister, a breathtaking spectacle, yesterday as today.
You can not miss inside the complex of Santa Chiara, the beautiful museum that collects a bit the whole history of the Church from 300 to 700.
It starts with the external archaeological area that collects the remains of the Roman baths found under the church.
The intimate environment of this room is interrupted by the beginning of the white marble room, where there are fragments of the original church, such as the bas-relief of Saint Catherine and other fragments such as those of the balustrades of the terraces of the cells of the poor clares.
The atmosphere becomes warm and sacred again in the room at the upper level dedicated to the exhibition of silver reliquaries, wooden sculpturesand precious brocade fabrics.
Do not conclude your visit without first being surprised for the umpteenth time: You will also be enchanted by the wonderful eighteenth-century crib.
This splendid realization belonged to the collection of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, the King ‘big nose’, who was a real admirer of this Neapolitan art.
What amazes us is not so much the size of this crib, but the infinity of meticulous details: the precious fabrics, hand-painted majolica, the precise faces of all the characters on the crib and other details, small and large that can be seen in the landscape.
The faithful reconstruction of the Naples of 700 is broken by the nativity which is represented in a classical way, inside the ruins of a Roman temple.
A show from which it is difficult to break away, it seems almost a game to those who find more details and to those who are more surprised in front of so much art.