The Cloister of Santa Chiara is only part of the monumental complex composed of church, convent and museum. Created as part of a Franciscan citadel in the early 1300s it has undergone many changes during its 700 year history.
The biggest change came when Abbess Ippolita Carmignano commissioned Domenico Antonio Vaccaro to redesign the garden. He left the original Gothic structure of 66 arches surrounding a square unchanged but transformed that square into a riot of yellows, blues and greens. Vaccaro set out two intersecting paths that divided the garden into four quadrants and lined them with 66 octagonal pillars linked by stone benches and walls. Not an unusual design of itself but when those pillars and benches were covered by Majolica it became one of the most beautiful gardens in Christendom.
Extensive work is being done to restore the Cloister - pillars strengthened, tiles cleaned (though not restored)and reattached, wooden pergolas rebuilt and the 17th century frescoes on the surrounding walls brought back to life. When it is finished it should be one of the most glorious sights in Napoli, as it is now it a wonderful place for a Sunday afternoon stroll.
There are two ways to stroll around the cloister. This smaller slide show gives some idea of the beauty of Santa Chiara.
Or a click on the wall below will take you to the larger, high resolution full screen version.
Either way enjoy the sunshine, the stroll and the Cloister.
And while you're strolling you might want to listen to Marco Beasley singing a snatch of a well known song about a sunny day and a person who brings more sunshine into his life. I particularly enjoy Guido Morini's introduction.
08 febbraio - Santa Giuseppina Bakhita