COMPLESSO MONUMENTALE DONNAREGINA
|Navata Barocca||500||400 seats|
|Navata Gotica||400||300 seats|
|Sala Solimena||130||200 seats|
|Sala del Coro Gotico||225||180 seats|
|Sala Colonne||80||80 seats|
|Sala Chierici||60||70 seats|
The convent of Donnaregina represents a unicum in the historical center of Naples where usually ancient buildings have been adjusted after the Council of Trent to the abundant baroque embellishments invading every wall or floor with their marble inlays, even covering the pre-existing paintings.
This Franciscan monastic insula (isle) still preserves remains of the old convent and of the two Churches ,the medieval and the XVII century one which up to the ‘30s were conceived as a single block with a small corridor joining the two apses and thus past and present, like a kind of umbilical cord and through which the Clarisse nuns could move around without leaving the cloistered areas. Today, the original architectures and decorations still give us a rare testimony of the history of Neapolitan Art and of the Franciscan Order.
The first witnesses of Santa Maria Donnaregina Vecchia date back to the 780. The convent was inhabited by Greek-Italian nuns, then by Brazilian nuns, in IX century by Benedictines and finally by Franciscan nuns, traditionally in contact with Saint Claire in person. In 1293 a strong earthquake destroyed the monastery which was then taken in charge by the wife of Charles II of Anjou, Mary of Hungary, who ordered a restoration of the Church according to the Gothic taste and wanted her tomb to be placed in the Church. In 1390 a lightening caught the Church and set a big fire which destroyed the roof and altered the original colors of the frescos in the choir. Nonetheless, the Church still preserves renaissance frescos in the lower sections of the choir and two Crucifixions on both sides of the apse arch. At the beginning of the XVII century the Clarisse nuns of the convent decided to have a new Church built, more suited to the current taste, annexing the old gothic Church to the cloistered area of the convent. The works in baroque style began in 1617. Between 1928 and 1934 the Superintendent had the two churches separated by shifting the wall of the new choir and then had the missing section of the gothic apse rebuilt and the monument to Mary of Hungary, which had been moved to the new Church.