This guided tour will lead you to discover the astonishing Santa Chiara Museum Complex, Sant’Angelo a Nilo Church and San Gregorio Armeno street, famous for its beautiful Christmas crib figurines, all located at the heart of Naples’ old town.
Our guide will be waiting for your right in front of Santa Chiara gated entrance, where the famous Spaccanapoli street begins. You will discover the largest Gothic church in the city, based on early 14th century project of King Robert the Wise and his wife Queen Sancha Majorca of the Angevin Dynasty (1266 – 1442). Just behind it, you will admire the famous cloister (chiostro) adorned in hand painted Neapolitan ceramic tiles by Donato and Giuseppe Massa.
Walking along Spaccanapoli street to reach the next stop in our guided tour, Piazzetta Nilo, which will be quite an interesting experience. Spaccanapoli (whose real name is Via Benedetto Croce) is the ancient hearth of Naples, the decumanus inferior splitting the city in two. This narrow, colourful, noisy street is an incredible overview of what this amazing city has to offer.
Piazzetta Nilo will surprise you with its Greek charm: this little square is named after the statue of the River Nile, dating from the Hellenistic period, which was found on this site and set on a pedestal in the adjoining Largo Corpo di Napoli. The marble statue was erected by the Alexandrian merchants living in the area during Roman times. It mysteriously disappeared when the Egyptian expats moved out, turning up headless in the 15th century. Its recently restored bearded bonce was added in the 18th century.
Your walk along Spaccanapoli will continue until you reach Napoli’s most incredible street: Via San Gregorio Armeno. This narrow street is the undisputed world capital of the Nativity and home to the artisans and merchants who specialize in the art and the craft of the Neapolitan Presepe. The tradition of St. Gregory Armenian cribs has a remote, pagan source: in classical times the citizens used to offer small terracotta figurines, manufactured in the shops nearby, to Ceres, whose temple was on the site. The street is dominated by the magnificent belltower of the church of San Gregorio Armeno, serving as a bridge connection between the two buildings (church and monastery) dedicated to St. Gregory the Armenian.
The tour cannot be concluded without tasting Napoli’s favorite street food: 'Pizza a portafoglio', a tasty tomato pizza folded like a wallet, or Pizza 'fritta', a fried pizza dough stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta and cooked ham, which will surprise you with its softness and flavour.