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Discover the Charterhouse and Museum of San Martino, Napoli (location, hours, admission)

Among the most beautiful places in Naples, there is absolutely the Charterhouse of San Martino. It is a museum, it is a church, and it is one of the best viewpoints in the city. It is also by all means one of the largest religious monumental complexes in the city and is one of the most successful examples of Baroque architecture and art.

It is located on top of the Vomero hill and offers an exceptional panoramic view of the city. The entire complex has about one hundred rooms that house the National Museum of San Martino, two churches, a courtyard, four chapels, three cloisters and hanging gardens.


What not to miss? Check out the cloisters and gardens

This museum was created with the aim of telling the artistic and cultural history of the city of Naples. Inside the Certosa di San Martino you can admire its monumental cloisters. The cloisters of the Charterhouse of San Martino are two:
the cloister of the procurators and the large cloister.
The cloister of the procurators was designed after 1590 by Giovanni Antonio Dosio, who wanted to create a space marked by arches in which the colors of white marble alternate with piperno, a gray stone of Vesuvian origin. In the center there is also a well in piperno by Felice De Felice, which can be placed between 1605 and 1608. On the walls of the cloister there are instead epigraphs, sculptures and coats of arms representing the districts of the city, brought to the monastery during the period of the Restoration of Naples, when they were removed from the streets. Also the great cloister was projected by Dosio on a pre-existing fourteenth-century cloister, but the completion works were then carried out by Cosimo Fanzago.

The architect from Bergamo made several improvements and decorations; five of the seven busts that characterize the walls and also the baroque balustrade of the monks’ cemetery, decorated with skulls and bones. The upper order of the cloister features eight sculptures: St. Paul and St. John the Baptist by Giovan Battista Caccini, both from 1593, the Risen Christ by Michelangelo Naccherino, the Virgin by Giovan Battista Perasco and St. Peter, St. Bruno, St. Martin and Mary Magdalene, all by Fanzago. At the center of the space, finally, there is a small marble well sculpted by Dosio at the end of the XVI century.


Another wonder of the place absolutely to be visited are the so called hanging gardens, where it is also possible to access the vines of the Charterhouse, an enchanting panoramic point from which to admire the scenery of the Gulf of Naples, an absolute must for those visiting the city even for the first time.

The hanging gardens of the Charterhouse, declared a property of historical and artistic interest, were restored during the ’70s. With their 7 hectares of surface, they were built paying attention to the surrounding landscape by emphasizing the scenic potential of the place, in full logic of the baroque garden. It is divided into three shelves:

The upper shelf is the one closest to the prior’s quarter and was originally intended for the cultivation of healing herbs for the pharmacy of the Carthusian monastery; the intermediate shelf was instead the prior’s vegetable garden and is decorated with a long eighteenth-century pergola; finally, the lower shelves represented the monks’ vineyards and there are paths, terracing, retaining walls, the articulated hydraulic system and small buildings built by the monks over the course of six hundred years.

The National Museum of San Martino

Inside the Carthusian complex is housed in some rooms the National Museum of San Martino, created in order to collect and tell the story of Naples from the Bourbon era until the post-Unification period.

The museum consists of several sections housed in different rooms of the Carthusian monastery, including in the rooms of the Prior’s quarters, in the pharmacy, in the refectory, in the cells of the Carthusians, in the old guesthouse or in some rooms on the second floor of the great cloister.

The museum sections are: the hall of the Carriages, the naval section, the Orilia collection, the Carthusian monastery picture gallery (inside the rooms of the Prior’s quarters, with pictorial and sculptural works already belonging to the ancient picture gallery or in any case coming from the religious complex), the crib section, the museum of the Opera (inside the rooms on the ground floor of the large cloister), the section of memories and images of the city (on the ground floor and second floor of the great cloister), the section of the decorated arts and the theatrical section (both on the second floor of the Carthusian monastery), the Rotondo collection (in the rooms overlooking the inner courtyard) and finally the Cabinet of drawings and prints (on the second floor of the building).

A place to discover

A totally different image from the Naples of the historical center, a place that seems to be in contrast with what happens in the city. Tranquillity, silence and a hint of ecclesiastical atmosphere envelop and confuse anyone who comes to visit the Carthusian monastery and its adjoining museum.

The baroque art of the place will amaze you, along with the panorama and will make you discover the relationship between nature and the city. Indeed, it will make you discover a city within the city, because the Vomero district seems to have a dissimilar form with all the folkloristic animosity of the Neapolitan capital.


Address: Largo S. Martino, 5, 80129 Napoli NA
Hours: Mon-Sat 8.30-18.30 (Wednesday closing day) Sun – 8.30-16.30 € 6 full – € 2 reduced for visitors aged between 18 and 25 years – € 4 second floor museum ticket including exhibition on days with free admission and for holders of artecard.
Free entrance for children under 18 years of age

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