SPACCANAPOLI, GESÙ NUOVO

Audio File length: 2.40
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Here in Piazza del Gesù Nuovo you've likely already noticed the 15th-century façade of the Church of Gesù Nuovo with its characteristic wall built in a diamond shape. Along with the neighboring Casa Professa dei Padri Gesuiti and the Palazzo delle Congregazioni that I mentioned in the previous file, this church was part of a complex of sacred buildings managed by the Society of Jesus. If this façade seems unusual to you, that's because it once belonged to a noble palace, the Palazzo di Sanseverino: the church took its place at the end of the 16th century.

You'll definitely be surprised by the magnificence and decorative richness of its interior: marbles, stuccoes, frescoes, and decorations of all kinds make it one of the collective masterpieces of the Neapolitan 17th century.

Now enter the single, large central area of ​​the church the side chapels open from, then take a few steps forward and turn around: you're looking at the spectacular eighteenth-century fresco covering the entire wall of the inner façade. This fresco is a masterpiece by Francesco Solimena, and depicts The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple of Jerusalem.

In the second chapel of the right nave, called the Visitation Chapel, you can see the tomb of Giuseppe Moscati, known as the "poor man's doctor", who was sanctified at the end of the 1980s. Besides being able to see manuscripts and various personal effects in the chapel's oratory, you can also see his desk, doctor's office, and his medical instruments!

 

As soon as you leave the church, almost directly opposite it you'll see another one in typical Medieval architectural style: it is the Church of the Clarisse, dedicated to Jesus the Redeemer and St. Ludwig of Anjou, which formerly served as a cafeteria for the Friors Minor of the nearby monumental Santa Chiara complex. This impressive religious site that you can already see the high bell tower of includes the church, monastery, and convent, and was commissioned by Robert of Anjou's wife at the beginning of the 14th century. You will find it just a few steps to your right by taking the narrow road Via Benedetto Croce from Via Santa Chiara: I highly recommend visiting all its wonders: the basilica, the cloisters, the halls, the refectory, and the choir.

 

FUN FACT: this wonderful monument has a famous Neapolitan song dedicated to it: Munasterio 'e Santa Chiara, which recalls the tragic bombardment of August 4th, 1943 that almost completely destroyed it.

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