Certosa di San Martino
Certosa di San Martino which literally means St Martin’s Charterhouse is a museum in Naples. It is not only one of the top museums in Naples but it is considered one among the two most prominent landmarks of the city and it is a must visit attraction for travelers during their Naples tour. This huge fourteenth century complex was a monastery for centuries that now houses a museum comprising one of the biggest art and historic collections in the city. The sprawling monastery complex is located atop the hill of Vomero overlooking the blue gulf water and from afar this stupendous architecture is seen as a quintessential landmark of Naples.
The grand history of this monastery dates back to the fourteenth century. As a monastery of Carthusian order the monastery was inaugurated in the year 1368 by the then ruler of Naples Queen Juan and was dedicated to the medieval Christian saint St Martin. The monastery at every successive age underwent a huge expansion and renovation. The last expansion work was done by celebrated Italian Renaissance architect Cosimo Franzago in the sixteenth century providing the shape and look of the architecture as it is now seen. In the nineteenth century when the heritage monastery came under the Spanish rulers the religious practice inside the monastery was stopped and it was renounced by the then religious order of the Christians. Spanish conquest gave this monastery some of the most beautiful artifacts for which the museum is now a must see destination for travelers during their Naples holidays.
What to see
With numerous frescos, marble paneling, ceiling artworks, woodcarvings and floor mosaics this palatial landmark offers a great heritage tour. The church inside the monastery Chiesa delle Donne with its beautiful collection of Lanfranco frescos is a major attraction of the place. Large Cloister or as it is called in Italian Chiostro Grande is another top architectural attraction of this place with a dominant renaissance style designed portico with marble columns and mosaic floors.
The frescos, wood curving décor works in the panels mostly belong to the artists of the 16th and 17th centuries and are major attractions of the building. After a tour through the architectural marvels throughout different sections and interiors of the monastery you must approach the museum, the main attraction. This museum houses some of the best artifacts in Europe and consequently you cannot miss it during your Naples tour itinerary.
The museum of Certosa di San Martino is world famous for Neopolitan nativity scenes or Presepi. The treasure collection of the museum includes a huge nativity scene with more than 160 people. Most of such scenes usually belonged to wealthy people of the city or people with Royal ancestry and they have been donated to the museum and this is regarded to be one of the greatest reserves of Presepi or nativity scene exhibits in the world. There is a grand collection of paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance period. You will find famous artist masterpieces including works like ‘Madonna and Child with the Infant John the Baptist’ by Pietro Bernini, a famous painting depicting the ‘Return of the Aragonese Fleet from the Battle of Ischia’ and many more. There is a huge 35 panel copper map guiding you in detail of the historic events the city passed through, an array of exhibits on special historic events in separate rooms and a wide array of antiques from different eras. The section called “Sezione Navale” displays historical warships of various battles is gorgeous. Besides all these historical arts and heritage pieces, this place also offers a fantastic view of the blue water bay facing it and almost a panoramic view of the city of Naples.
How To Get There
The easiest and quickest way to reach this place is to take the funicular from Piazza Montesanto to Vomero. Alternatively you can board the Metro Line 1 and alight at Piazza Vanvitelli and then take bus route V1.
Timing And Tickets
The museum and the monastery remain open everyday except on Wednesdays and you can visit the museum from 8.30 in the morning to 6.30 in the evening. A ticket to visit the museum and the monastery cost E 6 per person.