5. Church of San Domenico Maggiore
In San Domenico Maggiore square, alongside Spaccanapoli street, there is a beautiful basilica that gave the same name to the square. It was one of the first churches built by the French, Aragonese, ruling dynasty, in the 13th century. The main entry to Basilica through the facade is just behind the obelisk of Saint Domenico. This entry has a beautiful baroque style staircase leading directly to the altar; and on the left from the main entry, there is another one, most common. This entry has a big external staircase leading to the San Michele Archangelo a Morfista church, part of the big San Domenico Maggiore complex.
Besides damages or stealing, Basilica is still decorated with finest art examples, sculptures and paintings. This Dominican convent housed San Tommaso d’Aquino, who was teaching theology in Naples. It’s still possible to visit the cell of the saint as well as the tombstones of 10 Aragonese princes.
4. Basilica of San Francesco di Paola
Basilica of San Francesco di Paola is a stunning building in the main square of Naples, Piazza Plebiscito. It’s considered one of the most important Italian neoclassical architecture examples. The building works started in 1809 when Gioacchino Murat ordered to bring down previously standing buildings in order to make space for a new church and a new big square, which he wished to call by his own name. The project was never fully accomplished, because of the expulsion of Murat. The Borbones took the throne again and they finished the constructions by a new project. The church was finished in 1846.
3. Saint Severo chapel
Capella di Sansevero – Saint Severo chapel is a beautifully decorated private chapel, built on once standing temple. The owner of this chapel, Raimondo Sansevero, was a noble Neapolitan living in a revolutionary period, in the 18th century. He was a scientist that was interested in architecture, mathematics, astronomy. The Neapolitan fantasy tells that he was an alchemist who practiced unnatural, mystic, demonic experiments. In fact, in the basement of the chapel there are two skeletons: female and male body examples with perfect vascular system “imitations”, advanced in that period. The legend says that Raimondo di Sansevero in some way managed to crystallize these blood vessels using two real human bodies.
There is another mystery in this chapel. One of the most beautiful art examples in Naples “Christo Velato” (Veiled Christ) made by Giuseppe Sanmartino. The sculpture is a wonderful, detailed artwork of Christ's body covered in veil after the crucifixion. The sculpture is made out of one single marble piece and the scene seems so realistic, that for a very long time was thought that maybe it was a real veil crystalized to the sculpture. By the way, Veiled Christ is at the first position in all kinds of lists of “Top things to see in Naples”. It’s opened every day except on Tuesdays.
2. The church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo
Chiesa dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo is a church keeping the memory of silk art in Naples and you can learn more while on a guided tour of the church. Naples used to be a very important city for silk production in 1580-1630. The Neapolitan silk was appreciated and considered one of the best ones in that period. Santa Maria delle Vergini and San Silvestro, two churches that later connected and became the church of SS. Filippo and Giacomo protectors of the silk makers, was the complex where the silk was prepared by little, from 5 to 14 years old girls. Also, this church is decorated with SS. Filippo and Giacomo sculptures made by Giuseppe Sanmartino, the author who made the sculpture of Veiled Christ.
1. Monastery of San Martino
Certosa di San Martino is a beautiful monastery, built in 14th century, on one of the highest points of the city. Back then, it was a huge engineering and architecture achievement, advanced for its size and location.
The life of monks in the monastery was strictly closed. The monks stayed all the day in their cells and in the night, after about 2 AM they were leaving their rooms and joining in the inside garden for a prayer that lasted until the sunrise.
The museum is full of works of art, historic relics and big nativity exhibition. Not to mention the beautiful gardens or the view of the city. Here you can see wonderful Panorama of all the city or catch the most amazing picture of Vesuvius.
It’s possible to reach Certosa di San Martino by funicular or metro line 1, and it’s opened every day except Wednesdays.
Hope you’ll find these tips useful and the churches amazing. Come to visit the religious-cultural side of Naples
Naples is a city rich in churches with more than 400 “houses of God”, and if we’d add all the religious monuments that number grows more than the double. Naples municipality counts the biggest number of churches in all Italy. No wonder this city is called the city of 500 domes, describing that big quantity of religious monuments.
This article is about the most particular churches in the old town of Naples that every tourist should visit and their incredible stories. Of course, in Naples, you can visit many other very beautiful churches, but these ones, that I chose, are particular not only in their beauty but much more in their story.