A Surprise in the Middle of Naples: Le Gallerie di Palazzo Zavallos Stigliano

Now isn’t that a mouthful!

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In the almost three years that I have lived in Naples, I have never visited this museum! Now that it is almost time to leave, I am really making an effort to see all of the things worth seeing. That means museums, day trips to the Amalfi coast and everything else that is on my Naples-area “bucket list.” One day while I was on my usual mindless window-shopping walk, I decided it was time to visit a museum right on Via Toledo.

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The Gallerie di Palazzo Zavallos Stigliano is definitely an underrated gem in my opinion. First of all, the building itself is absolutely breathtaking. Constructed in the 1630’s by Cosimo Fanzago, it was the residence of the wealthy Zavallos family. From then on it was owned by various nobility and wealthy citizens on Naples. This is quite evident when you look at the opulent interiors!In the late 19th century, it was bought by the Banca Commerciale Italiana and is still owned by them today. (Albeit under the name Banca Intesa Sanpaolo because of bank mergers.) Today, it is one of their three art galleries around the country.

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Everything inside is incredibly refined, well-constructed and just plain beautiful. Thankfully the building is truly well-cared for and totally restored, which is a bit of a rarity here in Naples. When I was there, delightful classical musicians were rehearsing for a concert which just completed the atmosphere. It was seriously like I had walked back into the 1800’s.

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The museum is home to a small, but well-curated collection of Italian art. The heart of the collection is the last painting by Caravaggio. One of my favorite artists ever, Caravaggio shows off his much-copied style here in The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula from 1610. While this is really the star of the collection, there are plenty of other beautiful works there. It is an especially great place to see works by lesser known Neapolitan artists, like Vincenzo Gemito.

This museum is the perfect size. I saw everything in about 30 or 45 minutes, taking it all in very leisurely.  It’s large enough to show off a nice variety of art, but small enough so that you don’t get overwhelmed…or let’s be honest-bored!

Gallerie di Palazzo Zavallos Stigliano

Via Toledo 185, Naples, Italy

http://www.gallerieditalia.com

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