The historical centre and the lights of Naples.
The 'Piazza del Gesu' Nuovo' is the gateway to the historic centre.
The spire of the madonna and the Church of the New Jesus introduce the baroque atmosphere of the area. The interior of the church is a harmonious set of marbles, stuccos and frescoes, with works by Francesco Solimena, Luca Giordano and Massimo Stanzione.
Not far away is the Gothic church of S. Chiara, built in 1310 by Roberto d'Angio' and transformed into a Baroque church in 1700. After being damaged by the bombings of 1943, it was restored and returned to its original form. Here is the tomb of Robert of Angio' and the private chapel of the Bourbon family, who used the church as a noble burial ground.
A walk in the cloister of the Clarisse is not to be missed. Dating back to the Gothic period, it was then decorated with splendid eighteenth-century majolica tiles painted by Neapolitan artists Donato and Giuseppe Massa with landscape scenes.
Walking along "Spaccanapoli" you will arrive in Piazza S. Domenico.
The church of the same name, dating back to the 13th century, then became a burial site of the Aragonese dynasty, of whom the funeral arches are still visible in the Sacristy.
Not far from the church is the extraordinary Sansevero Chapel. A visit to this spectacular baroque complex is not to be missed, especially thanks to the presence of the veiled Christ of Sammartino, which has made the chapel famous all over the world.
Via Tribunali is the street parallel to Spaccanapoli, which intersects Via S. Gregorio Armeno, one of the most important Italian centres for the production of Christmas cribs. In the two months before Christmas the street is filled with stalls selling small shepherds and decorations for the cribs. In addition to the traditional ones, the artisans produce figurines depicting political and football personalities, always displayed in the various small shops which line the street.
Via Duomo will complete the tour of the historical centre. The street takes its name from the Duomo, a Gothic structure completed by Roberto d'Angio' in 1313. Along the left aisle is the entrance to the Basilica of S. Restituta, founded in the 4th century by the emperor Constantine and later transformed into a side chapel of the Gothic church. Right in front of the early Christian Basilica we can admire the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, where the ampoules with the blood of the saint are kept and exposed to the public during the miracle of the liquefaction of the blood itself. The magnificent chapel has been decorated by the most famous artists of the 17th century and displays magnificent silver reliquary busts.
The visit to the historical centre will be followed by a small tour to discover the most beautiful buildings of the monumental centre, all visible around Piazza Municipio and Piazza Plebiscito.
Castel Nuovo, better known as Maschio Angioino, was built by Carlo d'Angio' in 1279 and later modified by the Aragonese. The Arc de Triomphe at the entrance was erected to commemorate the arrival of Alfonso of Aragon in 1442 and is one of the best examples of Renaissance sculpture in the south.
Galleria Umberto I, dating back to the 19th century, was conceived as a sort of covered shopping center. The vault is in iron and glass, the floor is a magnificent example of inlaid marble and the interiors are all in Liberty style.
Right in front of the Gallery it is possible to admire the San Carlo Theatre, the most ancient opera house in the world, inaugurated on November 4, 1737, and dedicated to Charles of Bourbon. The building, almost completely destroyed by fire in 1816, was then rebuilt in neoclassical style.
Approaching Piazza Plebiscito it will be possible to admire the Royal Palace, built in the 17th century according to a project by Domenico Fontana. The palace was the official residence of Charles of Bourbon and successive royal families before the transformation of Italy from a monarchical state into a republic (1946).
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