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Naples: Museo Cappella Sansevero (Sansevero Chapel Museum)

About The Sansevero Chapel Museum:

The origins of this chapel date from the late 16th century, when, according to tradition,  an innocent man who was being led to prison in chains passed before the garden of the di Sangro palace in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, and saw a part of the garden wall collapse and an image of the Madonna appear. He promised the Virgin Mary to offer her a silver lamp and a dedication if only his innocence might be recognised. His innocence was proven and the man was faithful to his vow. The sacred image thus became a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and many other graces were received there.

Then, not too long after that, the Duke of Torremaggiore, Giovan Francesco di Sangro, became seriously ill and turned to the Madonna to plead for his recovery. Miraculously cured, in thanksgiving he built a “small chapel” called Santa Maria della Pietà or Pietatella in the place where the venerable image had first appeared (still visible above the High Altar). The chapel is actually a small, private museum, open to visitors for a fee.  It is well worth the visit, especially if you have any interest in art.  It contains some of the finest marble sculptures anywhere on earth.

Image of the veiled Christ in NaplesThe Cappella Sansevero is actually named the Chapel of Santa Maria della Pieta, and its most prominent feature is a statue of the veiled Christ.  It is one of the most impressive works of art ever made:  done by Guiseppe Sanmartino in 1753, famous throughout the world for the transparent tissue-like quality of the veil that covers the dead body of  Christ. and so realistic that some thought it created by alchemy.  Carved from one solid block of marble, “Veiled Christ” is considered one of the world’s most remarkable sculptures, and so realistic that some thought it created by alchemy.

the Release from Deception" by Francesco Queirolo


The museum also holds “the Release from Deception” by Francesco Queirolo, showing a man freeing himself from a net, all carved from a single block of marble. Again, it is almost impossible to appreciate the detail from this photograph.

But there many other statues here as well….all of them worthy of the finest churches in the world.  Be sure to ask for a guide if one is available, otherwise you can still admire the beauty of the artwork here.

Finding the Sansevero Chapel Museum:

The museaum is right in the center of Naples, and close to the Church of San Domenico Maggiore, so it will be easy to combine the two.

Address: Via Francesco de Sanctis, 19/21, 80134 Napoli NA, Italy

Tel:  +39 081 551 8470

Click here for the official website of the Sansevero Chapel Museum.

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