The Piazza del Gesù Nuovo in Naples is one of the city’s most beautiful and lively squares. The square borrows its name from the 16th-century Baroque Gesù Nuovo Church, parts of whose facade were featured on a 10,000-lire bill in the 1970s. Other attractions include the 40-meter-high Obelisco dell’Immacolata, erected in 1747, and the Santa Chiara Basilica.
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo Naples
Public transportation: Metro: Dante. The nearest bus stop is Sant’Anna dei Lombardi (line 139, 201, 301, 460, 584, 604, N3, N8).
History and Description
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo used to be the main western entrance to the city. It was not until the 16th century that two changes gave the square its present appearance.
The first change took place when Ferrante Sanseverino, tired of multiple houses blocking his palazzo, had them razed to the ground.
A few years later, the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo had the old city gate from the Anjou era flattened and the city walls moved further west.
What to see
The Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo started its existence as the Piazza Sanseverino. The original façade was preserved. In the 1970s this facade was on the 10,000 lira note.
The Basilica of Santa Chiara and its famous cloister are built on top of ruins of ancient 1st century AD Roman thermal baths. The basilica is best known for its beautiful cloister decorated with majolicas. The Santa Chiara Museum includes remains of a Roman bathing complex.
The Guglia dell’Immacolata, also called Obelisco dell’Immacolata, is located in the center of the square. Every year on December 8, firemen climb the obelisk to place a floral wreath at the feet of the Virgin Mary. It was designed by Giuseppe Genuino (1747-1750). The monument is 40 meters tall and built with money collected by the common people.