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Destination Woman
Female itineraries in Naples

01 June 2024

These women have intertwined religion, politics, and art. Yet, almost no one knows anything about them. Following the thread of their forgotten memories means discovering the other side of history. There is the great queen, Sancia of Aragon, who moved between political activism and Franciscanism. She married Roberto D’Angiò, and founded rich and powerful monasteries. For example, Santa Chiara, for both men and women, which was founded according to her wishes, and is guided by the Clare Sisters.

Then there is Nina, the sister of the holy doctor Giuseppe Moscati, who now rests with her brother in the church of the Gesù. The poor sought him out for medical visits and her for all kinds of help, because Nina gave her all to her brother’s charity. A few hundred meters away, there is Saint Gregory The Illuminator, the triumphant Baroque church where the blood of “Saint Patricia” is preserved with a monastery attached is linked to the memory of two other women. The first, from the 1500s, is Furia Caracciolo, who in her manuscript recounts the painful transformations that took place in female monasteries during the Council of Trent. The other, from the 1800s, is Enrichetta Caracciolo, who is the author of The Mysteries of the Neapolitan Cloister, and a key figure of the Renaissance. She was forced into seclusion, where she removed her veil, and became a Garibaldian, then got married. These are some of the protagonists of the project “Destination Woman: Female Itineraries in Naples”, conceived by the theologian Adriana Valerio, diocesan delegate for women. Walks through monasteries, cloisters, catacombs, churches, museums that often end with the offering of typical sweets – baba and sfogliatelle – that were first created in the monasteries. The visitors are guided by girls trained by another diocesan project, which was initiated by Maria Pia Mauro (a delegate for the laity), in collaboration with the Ministry for University and Research and the Campania Region. The project is also supported by the Department of Tourism of the Municipality of Naples.