Church of Santa Chiara
Santa Chiara was ordered by Sancia of Mayorca, wife of King Robert of Anjou, and built between 1310 and 1328 by Gagliardo Primario in the gothic-provencal style, with strong local influence. The use of yellow sandstone and piperno greystone lava is typically Neapolitan. The only decorative elements of the facade are the central rose window and the surround of the main entrance. The interior is a single hall with side chapels carved out of the central nave. Nothing remains of the rebuilding work done in the eighteenth century which brought the trim up to date with the Baroque style of the day, or the decoration work that was destroyed in the fire caused by the bombardment of August 4, 1943. The post-war restoration work re-instated the original gothic structure. The collection of sculptures, originally very ornate due to the fact that Santa Chiara belonged to the Angevin court (who erected the family tomb), suffered considerable damage. The frescoes of Giotti have also been lost. Of particular note is the burial monument erected in honour of King Robert by Giovanni and Pacio Bertini (1343-45), and the tomb of Duke Charles of Calabria and Marie of Valois, built by Tino da Camaino. It is only possible to admire the remains of the "Compianto sul Cristo deposto" (grieving over the crucified body of Christ), in the Choir of the Clarisse, where the nuns of the order attended services. Of particular note here are the connecting windows between the two areas, which on the church side are protected by iron spikes intended to punish prying eyes. The fourteenth century Chiostro Grande (belonging to the Clarisse) was restructured in the eighteenth century rococo style, which was ordered by the Mother Superior, Ippolita Carmignano, and carried out by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. While the original medieval structure of the vestibule, particularly the pointed arches, was preserved, that of the gardens was completely transformed, with the opening of the two crossed paths. The decoration of the Cloisters was carrried out by Donato and Giuseppe Massa, father and son. The majolica tiles of the seats show scenes of town and country life from the eighteenth century, whereas the octagonal shaped tiles on the pillars show patterns of vines and wisteria, which spiral up as far as the capital in piperno.