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Italy: Santa Chiara

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Santa Chiara | Italy | Europe

[Visited: April 2003]

Naples boasts hundreds of churches and cathedrals of all sizes, and it is almost impossible to visit the city without entering a few of them. There are baroque churches, gothic, modern ones, but of the churches I visited, I liked the Santa Chiara most. The cathedral itself is a straightforward structure. It was largely destroyed in a bombardment in the Second World War, and although much of the original embellishments have been lost, it is still easy to appreciate the simple and honest interior. Here you will find no excessive use of gold or intricate decorations.

Picture of Santa Chiara (Italy): Santa Chiara: decorated pillars in cloister

The real attraction of the Santa Chiara is the cloister area just behind the cathedral. It is wise to visit when the weather is fine, as the sunlight gives a special brilliance to the garden and especially the majorica tiles that decorate the pillars. Around the cloister, in the porticoes, there are restored frescoes with the usual biblical scenes. The real attraction is the inner garden, where you can not only enjoy the sun but also study the colourful tiles on the pillars and the seats.

Picture of Santa Chiara (Italy): Octagonal decorated pillar in Santa Chiara cloister

In contrast to the frescoes, the decorations on the pillars depict fruits and flowers, while you can see scenes of daily life on the seats. The bright colours and the recognizable themes of these tiles make you feel joyous and light. You just have to be careful not to sit on one of the seats, no matter how inviting they look. In order to protect them, it is not allowed to sit on them. As an alternative, you can sit in the middle of each side of the garden on the stairs.

Picture of Santa Chiara (Italy): Detail of seat in Santa Chiara cloister, Naples
Picture of Santa Chiara (Italy): Arches in courtyard of Santa Chiara cloister
Picture of Santa Chiara (Italy): Pillars in cloister garden, Santa Chiara

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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