The Headquarters

The State Archive of Naples is located in the ancient Benedictine monastery of Saints Severino and Sossio, in the heart of the historical city centre. Its history is linked to the presence of the Benedictines, who founded a monastery during the 9th century. In 902 AD, they transferred to the monastery first the body of Saint Severino and subsequently the relics of Saint Sossio. The complex focuses on four atrium-cloisters next to the church dedicated to the two saints. One of the cloisters, called “The atrium of the Plane Tree”, constitutes the oldest part of the monastery, named after the tree that – according to legend – was planted by Saint Benedicto. The cycle of Renaissance frescoes that decorates it, is the most complete in the entire city and depicts several episodes from the life of the Saint. It was completed in 1515 by Antonio Solario known as “lo Zingaro” (the gypsy).
The First Atrium corresponds to the original entrance on Vico S. Severino. The second, called the Atrium of the Novitiate because the novices’ lodgings overlooked into four monumental ficus trees standing in the four corners of its internal garden. Of great charm is the Atrio dei Marmi, begun in 1598 and completed in 1623, which represents the peak of the renewal program of the monastery. Of great interest is the Chapter of the Monks, today Sala Catasti, frescoed by Belisario Corenzio at the beginning of the 17th century. The frescoes represent parables, allegorical figures, and scenes from the Gospel. Furthermore, the former Refectory, now Sala Filangieri, hosts the great fresco of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and the allegory of the foundation of the Benedictine Order, both also painted by Corenzio. The valuable Sala Tasso, so called in memory of the Italian poet Torquato Tasso and the time he spent in the monastery, houses the precious and famous “Code of Santa Marta”. From the Sala Tasso the view is on a green space, defined by sources as the “monks’ garden” because it was chosen as a place of refreshment by the cenobites, currently planted mainly with citrus fruits.
In 1799, the monastery housed for a short time the Academy of the Navy. In 1845, the State Archives were eventually transferred to the monastic complex. The structure was adapted to its new function, enriched by wooden furniture, specifically designed to host the precious documentation.
Of great value are also the Pharmacy, characterized by inlaid shelves and a beautiful floor; the Library; the Diplomatic Room; the Hall of Gentile Archives; the Royal Chamber of Summaries and the site of the School of Palaeography, Archivists and Diplomatics.