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.
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 to 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.
Location: Largo San Martino 5, on the Vomero Hill
How to Get There: Take the funicular, 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- to 15-minute walk up the hill.
Note that the museum is typically closed on Wednesdays.