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 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.
10. The church of Gesù Nuovo
In Piazza del Gesù (Jesus square) there are two very particular churches. First of them is the church of Gesù Nuovo, built in 1470. In the facade keeping a stone masonry of a previously standing palace that belonged to Saverino, a noble family from Salerno. This family was against the king, always in rebellious attitude and always trying to provoke the royal family; just imagine how arrogant of Saverino was to build this palace just in front of Maschio Angioino castle, conceitedly looking at it from a higher position. So, the king took his revenge expelling all the family out of Naples and after that, he gave this building as a present to the Jesuits, who transferred it into a church.
Now, this richly decorated in marble church is attracting many tourists to admire this unique piece of art. Notice how many confessionals; some of them have even the “working hours” written on a piece of paper. So, if you feel like you have to confess your sins and you prefer one priest more than another you can come whenever your priest is working in the confessional.
9. The monastery of Santa Chiara
In the same square, almost in front of Gesù Nuovo church stands the monastery of Santa Chiara, a very big contrast to a previously mentioned sanctuary. One of them sparkle richness of the colored marble and the other one is a simple, very spiritual place. Founded in 1310, this monastery was shared by two different convents. The church belonged to “Frati Minori” monks, while “Clarisse” sisters where gathering at the sides of the altar to sing in the choir. These two groups were completely divided and the only way to communicate between them was through the confession.
Santa Chiara monastery didn’t always have the same aspect. In the 18th century it was renovated in Baroque style, but after the WW2, highly damaged, was rebuilt as a typical 14th-century church.
Santa Chiara monastery is a famous touristic point for the tombstones of the greatest nobles that lived in Naples and for the wonderful rococo style inside-garden.
8. The Church of Madre del Buon Consiglio and The Catacombs of Saint Gennaro
Madre del Buon Consiglio is a beautiful church at the foot of Capodimonte hill. Also, you can find here Catacombs of Saint Gennaro, the protector of Naples. With the guided tour it’s possible to visit the ancient underground cemetery reaching the second century A.D.
7. Duomo the Cathedral
Duomo (Church of Santa Maria Assunta) is the Cathedral of the city, standing on two early Christian churches, built in the 5th century, connected in the 13th century. It’s still possible to visit the remains of these previously standing buildings.
Cathedral is a perfect representative of its city. Just like Naples, it’s keeping long and various history; many different artistic styles blended chaotically, making one single piece of harmony. Ancient Roman traces, gothic forms, Neo-Gothic facade, differently unique chapels, including Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro, the chapel dedicated to the treasure of the saint guardian of Naples.
6. The organization of Pio Monte della Misericordia
Pio Monte della Misericordia was a charity organization, founded by 7 Neapolitan nobles. In 1602, they established the institution and commissioned the church, just near the Duomo, in Tribunali street. The chapel of Pio Monte della Misericordia is keeping a beautiful painting collection of the famous Neapolitan painters, including Caravaggio famous work “Le opere della Misericordia”. The painting collection in the chapel represents the ideology of the charity: to feed the sick, to take care of the poor, to give shelter for the ones who have no place to sleep.