|Inside Pio Monte della Misericordia|
Our next destination was the Cathedral of Napoli or the Cattedrale di San Gennaro, named after the city’s patron saint. The cathedral was built 600 years ago on the foundations of two ancient Christian churches, the Santa Restituta (6th c) and the baptistery of San Giovanni in fonte (5th c). The latter is the oldest monument in Western Christendom and has awe-inspiring mosaics, still intact - more or less. The Duomo is indeed magnificent, but the baptistery of San Giovanni resounds more of bygone times.
|Mosaics in the Baptistery of San Giovanni|
“Cella abita da S. Tommaso d’ Aquino negli anni 1272-1274,”
said the brass plaque on the door of the cell.
|Inside St. Thomas' study chamber.|
The monk from Armenia explains.
Photos from St Tomas' chapel.
The Royal Palace of Caserta
It was time to return to our headquarters in Vomero, since our plan for the afternoon was to go with Giustino to see the Royal Palace of Caserta, some 35 kilometres north of Napoli. We had an extensive agenda on this day, to say the least. But the visit to Caserta was worth the trip.
We had heard of the splendour of Versailles, but who knew that the Royal Palace of Caserta was built with the former as a model example, only on a larger scale? The construction of the palace began in 1752 when Charles VII of Naples (later king Charles III of Spain) commissioned the architect Luigi Vanvitelli (whose list of achievements includes the facade of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) to lead the construction. The king wanted to have an impressive new royal court and administrative center in a location protected from attack from the sea.
Photos from the Palace of Caserta