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San Gennaro Treasure redesigned to improve accessibility for blind visitors

The treasure of San Gennaro
The treasure of San Gennaro Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Euronews
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An exhibition of the San Gennaro Treasure - which is said to rival the British Crown Jewels - has been redesigned to be more accessible for blind visitors.

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The San Gennaro Treasure - which includes a collection of some 20,000 priceless pieces gathered over the centuries through gifts, donations and offerings - was kept hidden in the Cathedral of Naples for almost 500 years. 

Now, it is one of the richest collections in the world and one of the most accessible to people with disabilities with guides explaining the pieces in braille. 

The bishop's mitre is one of the most precious pieces in the collection. It weighs 18kgs and is decorated with almost four thousand gemstones. Its 3D reproduction allows visitors to touch the mitre in order fully appreciate its beauty.

“For us, access to art means autonomy, it means freedom, it means being equal,"  Pietro Piscitelli, the President of the Union of Blind People, Campania told Euronews. “The three-dimensional image of the mitre allows us to understand what it means to know this mitre.”

Crowning glory

The San Gennaro necklace is one of the collections other outstanding pieces. It was created in 1679 from jewels donated by many crowned heads of Europe, including the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

Now, alongside the real necklace, is an engraving on the wall that allows people to feel its shape. 

“We want to convey to a blind person the feeling of how much the ring sticks out from the big emerald and the other gemstones," Francesca Ummarino, Director of San Gennaro Treasure Museum, told Euronews.  "And below here we have the numbered descriptions of all donations to the Saint, in standard language and braille. 

"First, I can feel the outline of the pyx, which tells me its shape, ie, the shape of a chalice with a lid where hosts are kept. Then, I can feel the whole decoration - the lace the artist made through gemstones.”

Watch the full report in the video player above to learn more.

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