It was in 1310 that Roberto of Angiò had this monumental Franciscan complex constructed. The king consented to the request from his wife, Sancia di Maiorca, who because of her devotion desired a monastery for the Clarisse nuns under her protection. The monastery, of regal magnificence, was home for the tombs of the Angioini dynasty. The church was constructed by the architect and sculptor, Gagliardo Primario, leading to a destined connection with monastery by the Neapolitan royalty and nobility. The austere façade was preceded by a pronaos (arch) with 3 ogival (pointed arch) naves, in which the central one had an excellent view of the beautiful, red and yellow marble doorway, which boasted the arms of Sancia. The higher ceiling-rose was the work of modern restorations. The isolated bell tower rises up and conserves a 14th Century sloping base plinth with Gothic incisions commemorating the conclusion and consecration of the church. In 1328, Giotto painted frescoes in the Basilica dell'Apocalisse (Apocalypse Cathedral) being the only testimony of his work in Naples. His work is still partly visible in the Choral area of Clarisse. Its interior is simple and Unitarian and formed by a huge, luminous and rectangular hall without a transept concluded by a flat wall diaphragm within the Choir of the nuns. In the 18th Century, the original aspect of the interior was modified by the addition of a false Baroque look and other works along the same lines. This task was given to Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, who in turn commissioned Donato and Giuseppe Massa to do the work of the beautiful, majolica of the Cloister. Sadly, during the second world war, some allied bombs fell on the monastery, causing a fire which lasted for 48 hours and which destroyed the roof with its Rococo motifs, the Mediaeval frescoes and some tombs. Apart from very few exceptions, the works of art re-gathered in its interior come from the 14th and 15th Centuries. Many of these recuperated works are conserved in the Artworks Museum of Saint Chiara, whilst amongst those which were lost; we can point out the Sepulchre of Antonio Gaudino – work of Giovanni of Nola.
Opening hours: from Tuesday to
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
from Nov 1st to Mar 31st; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; from Apr 1st to Oct 31st;
ticket office closes 30' before.
Close on Monday and Dec 25th, Jan 1st, May 1st
Ticket: (indicative): euro 3.1 (full fare) - euro 2.07 (reduced fare)
Fax: ++39.041 5241614