Art Galleries and Art Museums Tour (Self Guided), Naples

Italy is well known in the whole world for its outstanding artists. Naples has an especially rich culture and history that you can admire by visiting its museums and galleries. These contain priceless paintings and works of art that are both old and contemporary. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most prominent art exhibitions in Naples:
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Art Galleries and Art Museums Tour Map

Guide Name: Art Galleries and Art Museums Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Naples (See other walking tours in Naples)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina
  • Girolamini Picture Gallery
  • Pio Monte della Misericordia
  • Accademia di Belle Arti
  • Castel Nuovo
Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina

1) Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina

The Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina is a contemporary art museum located in the historic center of Naples. It gets its name from its building, the former Palazzo Donna Regina.

The Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina was founded in 2003 when the Italian Ministry for the Heritage and Cultural Activities and the Unified Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities decided to establish a center of excellence to promote contemporary art. The Palazzo Donna Regina was purchased in 2005 and renovated by Portuguese architect, Alvaro Siza who created a museum comparable to some of the finest contemporary art museums in the world. It opened its doors to art lovers on June 10th, 2005.

Displays at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina are arranged in two floors. The third floor is dedicated to temporary exhibitions of single contemporary artists. The first floor has a permanent exhibition displaying works by Andy Worhol, Alberto Burri, Robert Mapplethorpe, Francesco Clemente, Richard Serra and Piero Manzoni. The second floor has a display relating to the history of contemporary art from the 1950s to the 1990s. The third floor that is dedicated to temporary exhibitions was inaugurated in April 2006 with an exhibition of works by well known contemporary Greek artist, Jannis Kounellis.
Girolamini Picture Gallery

2) Girolamini Picture Gallery

This small picture gallery is attached to the Girolamini Oratory in Naples. It has some of the finest works of Italian Renaissance artists on display.

The Girolamini Picture Gallery was installed in the beginning of the 17th century. It was placed in sacristy and managed by the fathers of the San Filippo Neri Oratory and not open for public viewing until 1961. After the devastating earthquake of 1980, the gallery closed its doors and opened again in 1995. Paintings on display were donated by the local aristocracy and private individuals as a religious offering to the Church.

The Girolamini Picture Gallery has displays covering six halls. The first hall consists of works from the 16th century to the 18th century. Valuable paintings displayed in the second room are the la Madonna con Bambino e San Francesco by Pomarancio and the Dorazione dei Magi by Federico Zuccari. The third and fourth rooms host works by Antonio Vaccaro, Giovanni Balducci and Francesco Allegri. The fifth room displays the well known San Pietro e Sant'Andrea by Domenichino among other renaissance works. There is an impressive collection by 17th century naturalist artists like Battistello, Caracciolo and Ribera on display and frescoes like the well known, Moses and David by Francesco Solimena.
Pio Monte della Misericordia

3) Pio Monte della Misericordia

The Pio Monte della Misericordia is a small church located on the Via dei Tribunali in the historic center of Naples. It houses a small but significant art gallery that is open for public viewing.

The Pio Monte della Misericordia was founded by a group of seven Neapolitan nobles in 1602. It was called the charity brotherhood and was located in a small church near the stairs that led to the Cathedral of Naples. The brotherhood performed many charitable deeds like feeding the hungry, providing interest free loans for the poor, ransoming Christian slaves, visiting prisoners and burying the indigent dead. The church soon became too small for the charitable activities of the brotherhood and was demolished to make way for a new larger building designed by Antonio Picchiatti. It was constructed between 1658 and 1678. The brotherhood still exists and donates money to schools and hospitals, today.

The Pio Monte della Misericordia has many valuable works of art. The most famous work is Caravaggio's magnificent work called the Seven Acts of Mercy which is regarded as the single most important painting in Naples. It is found above the altar of the church. Besides this masterpiece, impressive works by Carlo Sellitto, Fabrizio Santafede, Luca Giordano and Battistello Caracciolo form part of the gallery.
Accademia di Belle Arti

4) Accademia di Belle Arti (must see)

The Accademia di Belle Arti is a school of fine arts attached to the University of Naples. It is located in a building that once housed a convent and has its own art gallery with works by well known early artists and some of its illustrious students.

The building was constructed in the 17th century. In 1864, the architect, Enrico Alvino renovated the structure and added a neoclassical façade, a grand staircase and the sculptures of two lions to guard the entrance.

The interior houses a library, a collection of plaster casts and a picture gallery for academic purposes that is also open for public viewing. The art gallery has over 28 valuable works dating back to the 16th century. The main collection represents the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has 206 sketches and watercolors created by the faculty and students and 227 works donated to the academy by the 19th-century realist artist, Filippo Palizzi. Notable works by former students on display are watercolors by Giacinti Gigante and works by sculptor Vincenzo Gemito.

Why You Should Visit:
To immerse yourself in Neapolitanism and at the same time study art. The building stands in the historic center among many monuments, near the main tourist and gastronomic attractions.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 10am-2pm
Castel Nuovo

5) Castel Nuovo (must see)

The Castel Nuovo is a large medieval castle in Naples that houses two museums. It is a major tourist attraction and a venue for many events in the city.

Commissioned by Charles I of Anjou and built between 1279-82 as the royal residence after the capital of the Kingdom shifted from Palermo to Naples, it became the venue for all important events during the rule of the Angevin dynasty. The Spanish Aragon dynasty that ruled Naples after the Angevins improved the structure and used it both as a royal residence and a military fortress. The marble entrance arch was created by sculptors from Catalonia in Spain to celebrate the beginning of the Aragonese rule of Naples.

The Castel Nuovo has housed the Neapolitan Society of National History from 1875 and the Civic Museum that contains works of art from churches around Naples. It is open for public viewing and managed by the Naples Ministry of Culture. Among the things to see are a display of weapons in the armory hall and the Palatine or Saint Barbara chapel located within the castle. Cultural events and exhibitions are held at the two levels of the southern courtyard and at the Charles V hall and the Salla della Loggia inside the castle.

Why You Should Visit:
The castle is truly breathtaking when observing it from outside. Massive and beautiful, it can really stun – especially if you try to take some photos of it on a sunny day.
There are many historic layers, and you may even get to visit the excavations underground and also take the elevator/stairs to the top, where the city view is extensive.

It's the visit with a guide that gives you what you can't see with the main ticket. If you go, make sure to first buy the ticket for the museum and then the ticket for the tour if you want to make most of your visit (the small extra fee is worth it).

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30am-6:30pm

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