National Museum of San Martino

Visiting the Monastery and Museum of San Martino, Naples

san martino monastery photo
••• San Martino Museum and Monastery. © 2010 by Martha Bakerjian

The National Museum of San Martino is one of the top museums in Naples. San Martino Museum is housed in the Certosa di San Martino or Saint Martin's Charterhouse, a large monastery complex dating from 1368 that sits atop the Vomero hill near Sant'Elmo Castle. From the street between the castle and museum there are fantastic views of Naples and the Bay. See Photos from Vomero Hill

Museum exhibits are housed in the former living quarters of the monks and you can see the ornately decorated rooms of the monastery.

Be sure to visit the garden and cloisters, too. San Martino Museum and Monastery highlights include:

  • The famous Neopolitan nativity scenes, or presepi, display features one of the largest nativities with more than 160 people. Most of the scenes belonged to royalty or wealthy residents of Naples during the 18th - 20th centuries and have been donated to the museum. This is one of the world's top presepi exhibits.
  • Chiostro Grande, or large cloister, was designed in 16th century Renaissance style and has a portico with marble columns and mosaic floor. You can see the monks' cemetery here, too.
  • 16th - 17th century frescoes, mosaics, and wood carvings in the monastery.
  • Paintings and sculptures from the 13th-19th centuries.
  • Chiesa delle Donne, the church with Lanfranco frescoes and Baroque art.
  • The monastery gardens have fruit trees, flowers, and fountains and magnificent views.
  • Folk Art exhibit and Mount Vesuvius exhibit.
  • Check for rotating special exhibits, too.

National Museum of San Martino

Museum Location: Largo San Martino 5, on the Vomero Hill
How to Get to the Museum: Take the funiculare, or inclined railway, from Via Toledo by Galleria Umberto to Vomero, then it's about a five minute walk. The closest underground station is Piazza Vanvitelli on metro line 1, then bus V1 or a 10-15 minute walk up the hill.

Museum Hours: Thursdays - Tuesdays, 8:30 am until 7:30 pm (ticket office closes 6:30 pm), closed Wednesdays
Updated Information: Certosa and Museum of San Martino, Tel. 0039-0817944021
Admission: The price of admission is 6 euros. Reductions are available for those under 25, and admission is free for EU citizens under 18 or over 65. Audioguides in English or Italian are available for 4 euros. If you're visiting other sites, save on admission with the Napoli or Campania Artecard. It can be bought ahead or right at the museum.