Among the most fascinating places in the city of Naples there are also those wrapped in a halo of mystery, linked to the occult and esotericism and among these there is absolutely to consider the charming Sansevero Chapel.
Also called Santa Maria della Pietà dei Sangro, it was founded in 1590 by Giovanni Francesco di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, and then enlarged by his son Alessandro in 1608, with the intention of making it a burial place for the various members of the family.
It is to be considered one of the most charming eighteenth-century architectural complexes of the city, strongly marked by the personality of Prince Raimondo di Sangro, scientist, inventor, intellectual and great master of the Scottish rite of Freemasonry of the Kingdom of Naples. Between 1749 and 1771 he had the chapel redecorated and provided the artists involved with a precise iconographic programme.
Sculptures and works in the chapel
The interior of the chapel is spectacular, to say the least incredible frescoes on the vault by Francesco Maria Russo, whose theme of the Glory of Paradise highlights several characters of the family of Sangro. This work that fits perfectly with the architectural space and the colored marbles is characterized by the extreme brightness of its colors that after more than two centuries have not yet been restored.
In addition to these almost supernatural frescoes, the entire chapel is dotted with works of great artistic value including the famous Veiled Christ. The amazing works that define and design the space are often taken from the lives of the noble Neapolitan family.
In the sepulchre of Cecco di Sangro for example, sculpted by Francesco Celebrano in 1766, there is an episode from the life of the deceased who was locked in a chest because he was believed to have died in battle, and then went out with his sword in his hand terrorizing his enemies.
A statue on the theme of Divine Love of the eighteenth century is present between the counter-façade and the right wall. Under the first right arch there is the tomb of Paolo di Sangro; under the second arch there is the monument to Paolo di Sangro by Antonio Corradini; under the second pillar Dominio di sé stesso di Celebrano of 1767.
In the adjacent room, in line with the side entrance, is the tomb of Raimondo di Sangro, designed by Francesco Maria Russo, with a portrait of Carlo Amalfi.
The marble high relief of the Deposition, located above the high altar, is considered the masterpiece of Francesco Celebrano and was made between 1762 and 1768; on the sides of the altar are the two baroque style angels made by Paolo Persico, also the author of the frame of angels in stucco that surrounds the painting of the Pietà.
On the left wall of the presbytery is the tomb of Alessandro di Sangro, Patriarch of Alessandria, from the 17th century. On the right pillar of the altar there is the Disillusionment by Francesco Queirolo, a work of extraordinary technical skill; on the left pillar of the altar there is the Pudicizia, a veiled figure by Antonio Corradini from 1751.
At the centre of the nave is the most famous work in the chapel, the Veiled Christ, made by Giuseppe Sanmartino in 1753, an amazing work in terms of truth and compositional finesse, which still retains its original patina.
In the third left chapel, the statue of Santa Rosalia del Queirolo. Under the second left arch is the tomb of Giovan Francesco Paolo di Sangro by Jacopo Lazzari; in the first, the tomb of Paolo di Sangro, fourth prince of Sansevero. In the corner with the counter-façade is Corradini’s Decoration. This is just to give a quick idea of the quantity and quality of the works in the chapel.
In addition, in the crypt, commissioned by Raimondo di Sangro, are placed two anatomical machines (skeletons in which you can see the venous and arterial apparatus), which helped to increase the fame of the Prince of Wizard and Alchemist.
INFORMATION Address: Via Francesco De Sanctis, 19/21, 80134 – Naples Tel./fax: +39 081 5518470 Hours:
Weekdays: 09.30-18.30 Sundays and public holidays: 09.30-14.00 Last admission allowed up to 20 min. before closing
Closed on Tuesdays
Ordinary ticket: € 10.00
FAI associated: € 8.00
( youths from 10 to 25 years old) € 7,00
Disabled person with accompanying person
(2 tickets) € 7,00
Children up to 9 years old FREE