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The Chiesa di Monteoliveto is not large but, having been one of the favorite churches of the Aragonese royal family, is chock-full of fabulous sculpture. It stands on a pretty square graced by the Fontana di Monteoliveto, the most beautiful baroque fountain in Naples that was built for Don Pedro de Aragona in 1699, based on a design by Cosimo Fanzago: It is a grandiose celebration of royal authority, with white marble eagles and lions crowned by the bronze statue of Carlo II d'Asburgo.

In the atrium, behind the church's elegant facade in piperno (a unique colorful stone that was carved in underground quarries in the Naples area), is the tomb of the architect Domenico Fontana. Inside the church are three superb Renaissance chapels. The Cappella Correale to the right of the entrance has an altar by Benedetto da Maiano topped by a San Cristoforo by Francesco Solimena. To the left of the entrance, the Cappella Piccolomini is an almost perfect replica of the more famous Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal in the Florentine church of San Miniato al Monte and is graced by the tomb of Maria d'Aragona by Antonio Rossellino and Benedetto da Maiano. Also to the left lies the Cappella Tolosa attributed to Giuliano da Maiano and decorated in the styles of Brunelleschi and della Robbia. To the right of the high altar is an unusual group sculpture, Mourning the Death of Christ (1492) by Guido Mazzini; the stricken faces of the group are believed to have been modeled on members of the Aragonese court. From here, you can access the old sacristy with its vaulted ceilings frescoed by Giorgio Vasari. Its walls, decorated with wood inlays depicting classical panoramas, musical instruments, and other scenes, were created by Giovanni da Verona between 1506 and 1510.