The Cloister of Santa Chiara
Elaborate Christmas Cribs
Before you leave, make sure you look at the three presepi (Christmas crib scenes) just by the exit. The building of these tableaux is a speciality of Naples. Elaborate landscapes are designed, often with more resemblance to the Italian countryside than to ancient Palestine. Though more commonly a part of Christmas festivities, many of the larger scenes remain on display throughout the year. The Santa Chiara presepi were collected by King Ferdinand IV in the 18th century.
Visiting the Cloister of Santa Chiara
The convent is situated near to Piazza del Gesù Nuovo on Spaccanapoli, in the centre of Naples. The Cloister has a separate entrance at the back of the church, and is open from 9.30 to 5.30 (10.00 to 2.30 on holidays). There is an entrance fee (currently €5). Be warned that there are very strict rules about not sitting on the tiled benches!
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