Certosa di San Martino is one of the most well-known and visible structures in the city of Naples. Perched high atop the Vomero Hill and commanding a formidable position above the Gulf of Naples, the San Martino Monastery and Museum has come to be a symbol of the capital of Campania. It is certainly one of the most readily identifiable structures with its prominent position on Vomero Hill. For centuries it served as a Carthusian monastery, inaugurated in 1368 and dedicated to St. Martin of Tours.
The building that would come to house the Museum of San Martino was expanded in the early part of the sixteenth century and again in 1623 under the direction of Cosimo Fangazo. This last expansion brought the building to the state that we generally are able to see it in today. The Museum of San Martino occupies the part of the structure that was once the chambers of the monks. It was not until the early 1800s that the religious order abandoned San Martino Monastery under the pressure of French-occupied rule. Together with attractions such as the Piazza del Plebiscito and Mount Vesuvius, the Certosa di San Martino is a must-see attraction in Naples, Italy.
Since 1866, the National Museum of San Martino has been housed in this amazing complex on Vomero Hill near Sant’Elmo Fortress. The San Martino Monastery and Museum includes a church, charterhouse, gorgeous terraced gardens, and over 70 halls that each contain a vast array of exhibits representing different eras in the progression of the city of Naples. There are a range of paintings and sculptures that date from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries as well. There is also an exhibit dedicated to Italian folk art and another to Mount Vesuvius. You will want to take time to look at all of the amazing frescoes, woodcarvings, and floor mosaics at the chapel before you continue the rest of your exploration of the Museum of San Martino.
You will see the work of famous artists from all over Italy in the detail and design of the various parts of the complex, including the chapel and monastery. The gardens of the monastery yards provide the ideal place for you to enjoy breathtaking vistas of the city and Gulf of Naples. If you are planning a trip to Naples and intend to visit the Certosa di San Martino, you will want to be sure to remember your camera.
Transportation in Naples is easy when it comes to getting to the museum. You access the Museum of San Martino by funicular (inclined railway) from the Via Toledo by Galleria Umberto to Vomero. Then it is about a five-minute walk to the Museum of San Martino. You can also take the metro line 1 from Piazza Vanvitelli then the bus V1 to get to the museum, or you can forego the bus and walk ten minutes after the train ride. The San Martino Monastery and Museum is open everyday of the week except Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The ticket office closes one hour prior to the museum closing. Along with the Capodimonte and National Archaeological Museum, this is one of the top museums in all of Naples.