Just a stone’s throw from Naples Cathedral and the National Archaeological Museum in the heart of Naples Centro Storico, the 19th century palazzo that houses the MADRE museum blends in perfectly with its surroundings. Inside however, visitors are treated to a thoroughly modern space filled with the latest works by leading national and international contemporary artists.

The first venue in Naples Historic District dedicated entirely to Contemporary Art, MADRE Museum Naples opened in 2005 in the palazzo from which it takes its name, Palazzo Donnaregina. Re-imagined and renovated by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, its wide open, bright, and airy spaces are perfectly suited for displaying contemporary works of art while the ancient palazzi of the historic district visible from the palazzo’s windows provide an interesting contrast.

The first floor houses the museum’s permanent collection with works by artists such as Mimmo Paladino, Jannis Kounellis, Francesco Clemente, Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor. The museum’s historic collection on the second floor features some 100 works of historical interest from the mid to the late 20th century that were generously placed on indefinite loan with the museum by Italian and foreign collectors.

Launched with a Jannis Kounellis retrospective, the museum’s temporary exhibits are installed on the ground and third floor and have featured the work of local, national and international artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Francesco Clemente, Johnnie Shand Kydd, and Sislej Xhafa.

While MADRE has had its share of ups and downs recently, facing the threat of closure several times and a long period of uncertainty, a new director, Andrea Viliani was appointed December 21, 2012 and the museum has high hopes for a bright future.