Sites and tourist areas in Naples and Campania
The obelisk was given from the people to Carlo di Borbone who always wanted to see displayed the statue of the Virgin. Everything was organized by the Jesuit Father Pepe, well-known upholder of the rights of the poor and a well-respected man by the Bourbon court. In 1747, the beautiful baroque guglia was constructed and was dedicated to the Virgin Mother with much dismay from the Duke of Monteleone who was afraid of the towering obelisk falling onto his building.
The king would have wanted to contribute his own money to the great “collection” by Father Pepe, but Pepe refused because of his want to succeed by himself in scraping together from within the surrounding towns the sizeable figure to pay for the artists. The design of the Virgin Mother is by Genoino according to the indications from Father Pepe. The beautiful full-relief sculptures whose medallions in high-relief represent saints of the Jesuit origin and evangelic events are by Matteo Bottiglieri and Francesco Pagano.
Gesù Nuovo, designed by the Jesuit L. Valeriani, was constructed in the 16th century with a diamond-point bossed façade in the area of the renaissance Palazzo Serseverini. In 1767, the Jesuits were banished by the king, and the church was passed to the reformed Franciscans. But finally in 1821, the church was returned to its original founders. The inside presents magnificent multicolored marble on the walls. The high altar contains inlaid work of black agate stone, “porfido”, “diaspro”, amethyst, malachite and lapis lazuli. On the other wall is a fresco by F. Solemena with the “Cacciata di Eliodoro” (The Expulsion of Eliodoro) from the temple in 1725. The ceiling has frescoes on the center nave by B. Corenzio and P. De Matteis.
The large chapel of S. Ignazio di Loyola, founder of the company of Jesus, was erected by the Prince Gesualdo from Venosa, the celebrated madrigal singer who had his own wife killed along with her lover. The cappella of visitation guards the remains of San Giuseppe of Moscati, the doctor from the hospital of the incurable and university professor, the same saint that dedicated his entire life to helping the sick and the poor. He was declared a saint in 1987.
Santa Chiara e chiostro maiolicato
This provincial gothic work by Gagliardo Primario was erected in 1310 by Roberto Angiò and Queen Sancia.
The church exhibits three “epoche stilistiche” (stylistic eras): the first “gothic” with the mournful monument by Roberto d’Angiò; the real tombs by Tino Camaino and the great frescoed room by the students of Giotto and Cavallini; the second era “baroque” for the rehashing that distorts the whole fourteenth-century style. And the third era, set up by the bombardment of 1943 that destroyed the church but for a few meters with incalculable damages.
The reconstruction brought back the constructive lines to the original Franciscan idea, the little evidence that survived the deadly flames is still there with notable artistic interests.
The ninth chapel conserved the baroque structure and the official sepulcher of the Borbone family. The beautiful 18th century sepulcher is of Filippo the first son of Carlo of Borbone; in front is the tomb of the revered Maria Cristina of Savoia, mother of Francesco II of Borbone the last king of Naples who after few years now rests in the chapel after a long exile from his city. Behind the high altar lies the great sepulcher of Roberto that lost the steeple in the bombardment of 1943. The written words “cernite Robertum regem virtute refertum” was dictated from Petrarch. In the eighth chapel there is a Greek sarcophagus from the fourth century BC bas relief decorated.
The cloister of gothic origin was transformed in 1742by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro under the order of Queen Maria Amalia, wife of Carlo of Borbone. Donato and Giuseppe Massa, of the renowned “riggiolari” Neapolitan family, worked to redesign the structures of the cloister with stupendous multicolored tiles on the same drawings of Vaccaro.
Basilica di S. Francesco di Paola e Largo di Palazzo
In the neoclassic style, inspired by the Pantheon of Rome, this basilica was erected by Ferdinando of Borbone as an ex voto for recuperation of the monarchy after the fall of Napoleon.
The dome holds the statue of “Religione”, “S. Francesco di Paola” and “S. Ferdinando”, in homage to the king. The large round center is thirty-four meters in diameter and is covered by an enormous dome scaling up to fifty-three meters, supported by thirty-four Corinthian columns and thirty-four pillars, all in valuable marble from Mondragone. The high altar of 1641 is preciously inlaid with “porfido”, agate stones, Sicilian diaspran and lapis lazuli, works of art worth a fortune by Anselmo Cangiono, “prelevato” (withdrawn) by royal command from the SS. Apostoli. Another piece of worth is a “San d’Onofrio in prayer” by Luca Giordano in the chapel on the left at the entrance.
At the center of the piazza are the two statues of Carlo III of Borbone and his son Ferdinando IV on horseback; the statue of Ferdinando and his beautiful horse are by Antonio Canova, as well as the other horse that was part of the statue commissioned by Napoleon to Canova by Giuseppe Bonaparte which was successively acquired by Ferdinando IV.