In a bustling city like Naples, it can be difficult to find peace and quiet, especially in the city center. But the other day while strolling among the crowds of tourists and street vendors, I decided to duck into Santa Chiara, a church/monastery complex I had walked by a few times before. The few euro I had to pay for entry proved to be more than worth it. Upon entering the courtyard of this 14th century convent, a feeling of complete peace and serenity washed over me. I was taken back not only by the beauty of the courtyard (more formally known as the Cloister of Clarisses), but even more so by the peaceful, even euphoric feeling that made it easy to recognize this was a place of spiritual refuge.
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