The San Giovanni a Carbonara Church in Naples was originally constructed in the 14th century. The main attractions of this single nave church are the Caracciolo del Sole Chapel and the tomb of King Ladislaus of Durazzo. The church is a sort of Pantheon for the last descendents of the Anjou dynasty.
San Giovanni a Carbonara Church Naples
Address: Via Carbonara, 4 – Napoli. Phone: 39 081 295873. Opening hours: From 09:00 till 13:00. Closed: Sundays. Tickets: Free entrance.
History and description
The Chiesa di San Giovanni a Carbonara was constructed between 1339 and 1343. It was part of a bigger complex, run by the Augustinian order. The land, a former disposal site (carbonarius), had been donated to the order by a wealthy patrician called Gualtiero Galeota.
King Ladislaus of Durazzo (1377-1414) had the church enlarged, a new cloister built, and the interior decorated with marble. According to his own wishes, he was buried inside the church.
The church was further embellished during the Renaissance period. The Caracciolo family had two chapels constructed in the apse. One of these had been commissioned by Sergianni Caracciolo, who was Queen Giovanna’s lover.
In the early 16th century Ciancia di Caracciolo commissioned the construction of another chapel in the apse and of a second cloister.
Construction of the Somma Chapel behind the counter-façade entailed having to close the main portal. A new entrance was created the side arch of the nave.
In 1570, Cardinal Girolamo Seripando had the New Cloister and the library built.
After an earthquake in 1688, the church needed to be rebuilt. A boarding school for the local nobility and a novitiate were added, as well as a school for the servants of the aristocracy.
The 18th-century double-flight baroque staircase leading up to the church itself is the work of Ferdinando Sanfelice.
What to see
King Ladislaus’ Tomb
The 18 meter tall sepulchral monument of King Ladislaus is visible behind the high altar. It was sculpted by Andrea da Firenze, with the help of a number of other artists.
Caracciolo del Sole Chapel
The circular Caracciolo del Sole Chapel is decorated with 15th century frescoes and a majolica floor. Leonardo da Besozzo made the tomb of Giovanni Caracciolo. The latter was the lover of Queen Giovanna of Naples, sister of King Ladislas. Caracciolo had been stabbed to death in the Castel Capuana, when he became too ambitious to suit the queen.
Caracciolo di Vico Chapel
The Caracciolo di Vico Chapel is located on the left side of the apse. It was commissioned in the early 16th century by Ciancia di Caracciolo.
The Miroballo monument was the work of Tommaso Malvito and Jacopo della Pila.
The Cappella Somma contains a 16th century altar by Annibale Caccarello and Giovan Domenico d’Auria, There are also some mannerist frescoes. The chapel itself dates back to the 16th century.