Just up the street a bit from where I was staying in Naples, is the former cloister of the church San Gregorio Armeno. It’s enormous, covering nearly a city block. From the 16th century, it provides such a surprise when you enter the not very beautiful gates, which open to this view.
As you trudge up the many stairs, you can admire the ancient embellishments, such as these.
The cloisters feature a whimsical baroque fountain embellished with masks, dolphins and sea horses, and two exquisite statues of Christ and a Samaritan woman, by Matteo Bottigliero.
The nuns had a bakery, where you can still see the utensils they used. I do believe these nuns were responsible for the hip expanding, but delicious, pastries known as sfogliati.
I don’t know what these were used for, but aren’t they pretty?
The nuns could sit in these little niches to see and hear mass being celebrated. Maybe hear, better than see? I’ll check out the view when I get back to Naples.
Because they were cloistered nuns in the past, near the main entrance you will find two little doors with revolving platforms that served as the means to receive food, clothing, letters and so on.
A pretty little chapel was accessed via a flight of stairs.
There are still nuns living in the cloisters. Among other things, they teach dozens of cute little knee high urchins that call these surroundings their kindergarten.
It’s well worth a visit, if you ever happen to be in this fascinating city.