The Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro is certainly one of the main attractions in Naples, an artistic boast of unique richness. In fact, the treasure of the same name is one of the most important and precious religious treasures in the world; it is kept in the city's cathedral, thus in the very centre.
Do you know you can visit the Treasure of San Gennaro enjoying the Naples Pass?
It was created thanks to the commitment of the Archconfraternity of San Gennaro, which raised funds to restore the buildings that house the museum and to acquire new objects for the treasure. Kept for centuries in the Cathedral, during World War II the Treasure of San Gennaro was taken to the Vatican to be preserved and returned to the Cathedral in 1947 through the efforts of Giuseppe Navarra.
What can we admire in the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro
The Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro houses a vast collection of sacred objects, including liturgical vestments, reliquaries, processional crosses, votive lamps, and many other precious items. One of the most important pieces of the treasure is the mitre of San Gennaro, made in the 18th century with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. Additionally, another precious object is the necklace of San Gennaro, made between 1679 and 1929 by adding precious stones and jewels gifted over the centuries by kings, popes, nobles, and common people to the original jewel created by the goldsmith Michele Dato.
The museum also houses a number of works of art, including paintings, sculptures and frescoes, depicting the devotion to San Gennaro and the history of the city of Naples.
The most precious piece of the treasure of San Gennaro are the two ampullae of the saint's blood, which are displayed to the public during the ceremonies of blood liquefaction. These events occur three times a year, on 19 September, the first Saturday in May and 16 December, when the faithful gather in the treasure chapel to witness the liquefaction of the blood. The ampullae are kept in the treasury chapel, where ex-votos donated by the faithful to thank the saint for the miracles obtained are also kept.
How to go to the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro
The Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro, as already mentioned, is located in the city centre, near the Cathedral of San Gennaro, precisely at Via Duomo 149. So it is very easy to get there, we are talking about one of the best connected areas in the whole of Naples, with buses, metro and trams. Another convenience, is that the museum is open every day except Tuesdays, with opening hours from 9am to 6pm. Taking advantage of the Naples Pass is almost a must, given the opportunity available.
The Museum's recent history: from special exhibitions to closures
Like all art sites, the recent life of the Museo del Tesoro di San Gennaro has not been easy. The pandemic has inevitably influenced its management, forcing it to close from March 2020 to May 2021. It should be noted that the museum has still offered virtual exhibitions to its visitors to keep them company despite the global difficulties; in addition, it launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its activities during the general shutdown. Even in previous years, there have been forced closures, clearly for very different reasons. In 2015, for example, it was forcibly closed for a year due to a series of administrative and security issues. During this period, many of the museum's works of art were restored and the layout of the museum itself was completely renovated. Or, it should be remembered that in 2018 the museum suffered a theft of some precious works of art, including a 17th-century crucifix and a 19th-century reliquary. The works of art were subsequently recovered by the police and returned to the museum.
Clearly, there have not only been negative events recently, but also reasons for great jubilation and satisfaction for the Museum. In fact, in 2018, the museum collaborated with the British Museum in London to create a special exhibition dedicated to the art of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The exhibition presented valuable works from the collections of both museums, including mosaics, statues, and frescoes. Or, the following year there was a new initiative called the "San Gennaro Experience", which offered the possibility of visiting the museum in the evening, accompanied by a tour guide and followed by a dinner featuring local products. The initiative was a great success, attracting many visitors to discover the museum in a unique and suggestive atmosphere.
The Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro is one of the most important attractions in the city of Naples, recounting the history of and devotion to the city's patron saint. The Treasure of San Gennaro is an important testimony to the history and art of the city of Naples, and the museum offers a unique view of the city's culture and religiosity. Of course, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid long waits, especially during high season or weekends. If you are in Naples, therefore, you cannot miss a visit to the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro!
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