The Chapel of San Severo is one of the most interesting complexes of XVIII century in Naples; it was built in the year 1590 for the desire of Giovanni Paolo Francesco de Sangro in the place where was an image of the Virgin Mary who had miraculously healed him. Also known as S. Maria della Pietà de Sangro, it was enlarged in 1613 by Alexander, son of Francesco de Sangro, Patriarch of Alexandria and Archbishop of Benevento, who turned the Chapel in a burial place for members of the family.
The appearance of the noble mausoleum is a reflection of the multifaceted personality of Raimondo di Sangro, seventh Prince of San Severo, one of the most enlightened representatives of the aristocracy of the city of Naples, devoted to the studies of mathematics, perspective, hydrostatic, philosophy, esotericism, alchemy, languages and art of typography. He was Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge of Naples and his attitudes cost him a papal excommunication as well as the creation of many legends about his figure that helped to wrap the building in an aura of mystery still alive today.
Between 1749 and 1771 he decorated completely the entire chapel, providing his projects to important artists.
The building’s interior has one nave defined by four arches on each side, in each of the arches is placed in a tomb. The ceiling is vaulted and is decorated with frescoes by Francesco Maria Russo. The floor of the XVIII century, with the motif of the labyrinth was destroyed except a small fragment near the grave of Raimondo de Sangro.
Among the many sculptures that adorn the chapel, to the right of the altar is a representation of the Disillusion, by Francesco Queirolo devoted to the father of Raimondo, represented by a man who is freeing himself from a net, a metaphor of the troubled life of the man. On the left hand of the altar is a representation of Modesty, dedicated to Cecilia Gaetani d’Aragona Aquila, mother of Raymond died prematurely; the work from Corradini represents a shrouded figure of extraordinary elegance and naturalness.
Located in the center of the nave, is a statue of the Veiled Christ, created by Giuseppe Sammartino in 1753, based on an idea by Corradini (d. 1752) whose model in clay is preserved at the Museo di San Martino in Naples.
The work of extreme accuracy and fineness is strongly suggestive for its perfection, and has fascinated since 700 curious, scholars and artists, including Antonio Canova, the Marquis de Sade, Matilde Serao and many others.
From the right side of the Chapel, passing through the area where tomb of Raimondo di Sangro is located, we reach the crypt where the so called anatomical machines are placed; a woman and a man covered in detailed wax veins and arteries realized by the Doctor Joseph Salerno, on the recommendation of the Prince.
Popular imagination has helped spread the legend that they were the remains of two servants of the prince who had been injected with a liquid capable to petrify the veins and arteries, but scientific studies and some irregularities in the composition have refuted this hypothesis.
Sansevero Chapel Museum is a jewel of the world’s artistic heritage. Baroque creativity, dynastic pride, beauty and mystery blend to create a unique atmosphere, almost out of time.
Tour Price: 60 €/hour (to be included in the Naples tour)
Tour type: Art, Culture, History tour; Private tour; Walking tour.
Duration: 2 hours
Running days: Every day
Maximum travelers: 14 (a small group guarantee a service of better quality) Tours for larger groups can be arranged on demand.
Main attractions: the famous Veiled Christ and the “Pudicizia” by Queirolo and the “Disinganno” by Corradini. The chapel from an idea of Raimondo de Sangro, principe di San Severo; the anatomical machines in the Crypt.
What’s not included: Entrance ticket (8 €); Transportation (It can be arranged with Mercedes Limousine, Mini Van or Bus; Hotel pick-up or drop-off)
Kid Friendly: Yes
Disable friendly: Yes
I can arrange an itinerary for people with reduced mobility.
tel: +39 3284134719