Hotel Il Convento: Touristic areas
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.
Castel Nuovo e Maschio Angioino
In the year 1266, Carlo d’Angiò entrusted the work of the castle to the Frenchmen Pierre de Chaules and Pierre d’Angicourt. Roberto d’Angiò used the work of Giotto who worked in Naples in the years 1328 to 1333 putting frescoes in the Cappella Palatina that no longer exist, perhaps they were destroyed in an earthquake. Also Boccaccio lived in Naples in these years. One of the most notable events of the medieval period happened during the angioino period within the walls of the Castel Nuovo, the “gran rifiuto” (the great refusal) of Celestino V on December 13 of 1294. Always in its walls, the new conclave Bonifacio VIII was elected.
In 1442 the crown was placed upon the head of Alfonso d’Aragona; in the courtyards of the castle was born the famous and esteemed Accademia Pontaniana. The castle, practically destroyed during a siege of the city by Alfonso, was rebuilt by the aragonian architect Guglielmo Sagrera that gave the construction its appearance of today. The great hall is a miracle of architecture. With about thirty meters of height, it presents a covering of costoloni that, starting at the center, joins itself with the perimeter walls. It was named the “Sala dei Baroni” (room of the Barons) because in 1486 Ferrante d’Aragona brought all the unfaithful barons into that room in order to arrest them. The arch of triumph is retained as one of the most beautiful works of the Italian Renaissance. Also like every respectable castle, the Maschio Angioino has its own dungeons and various skeletons (The Cells of Miglio and the Crocodile).
It began in 1602 for the second city of the Spanish Empire. The project was entrusted to the architect Domenico Fontana, among the most famous architects of the time, the designer of the Rome of Sisto V.
In 1734, Carlo Borbone returned to Naples its dignity as a capital city by giving it an autonomous reign and the palace was enlarged. In the 19th century, Ferdinando II of Borbone commanded major repairs and remodeling. The restorations, conducted by the architect Gaetano Genovese, enlarge the ancient relic without distorting it.
The long manner of the façade is entirely by the architect Fontana. The external niches were occupied by statues of the kings of Naples, the first ones from their respected dynasties: Ruggero the Norman, Federico II of Svevia, Carlo I d’Angiò, Alfonso I d’Aragona, Carlo V d’Asburgo, and Carlo V of Borbone. The royal apartment offers visitations to the royal rooms of etiquette. The rooms and furnishing are not available for daily usage (bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) because of grave damages and lootings from the last war.
One can access the monumental and luminous apartment by a grand staircase of honor. The royal garden was enclosed by a magnificent iron gate on which one enters an entrance enclosed by an iron statue of Palafrenieri (also known as “Cavalli di Bronzo” Bronze Horses), a gift from the Czar Nicolas I to Ferdinando II of Borbone.
Teatro di San Carlo
The Teatro San Carlo was built in 1737 and it is the longest continually running theater in Europe. Numerous testimonies handed down from travelers and renowned visitors are generally all in agreement in the celebrated vastness and beauty of the theater by Antonio Mediano. The digression of the Repubblica Partenopea in 1799 brought about expected damages after the theater was used improperly, renamed Teatro Nazionale and “defiling” the theater as a use of horse shows. During the reign of Gioacchino Murat, it was declared that the theater was to be renovated by the architect Niccolini and the external portico was to be constructed in order to restore the dignity of the monumental symbol of the city the theater acquires the connotations of the temple.
On the night of the 13th of February 1816 the structure was devastated after a violent fire. The reconstruction, under the order of Ferdinando I of Borbone, was executed in the arch of nine months and is always directed by the Tuscan architect.
The curtain on the stage which was often repainted by Giuseppe Cammarano completed the permanent furnishings of the theater. It was then substituted in 1854 by its current exemplary curtain due from Giuseppe Mancinelli and Salvatore Fergola which represents the Parnassus with eighty poets and musicians.