Historical and cultural itinerary in the most beautiful churches of the “city of 500 domes"
Not everyone knows that Naples boasts the highest number of churches in the world: we’re talking about an artistic and spiritual heritage of enormous importance, formed within seventeen centuries; this is the reason, since ‘700, it has been named the “city of 500 domes” .
Early christian or gothic, baroque or neoclassical, the churches of Naples can mix contrasting and pluralist styles and traditions, bringing down the visitor both in a magical and almost pagan atmosphere and in a profoundly mystical and Christian experience. Whether you are fervent believers or enthusiastic appreciators of art, here is the list and the history of the 10 Neapolitan churches that you cannot miss on your tour.
10. Basilica of Madre del Buon ConsiglioThe Basilica of the Uncrowned Mother of Good Counsel in Capodimonte is the youngest church in the city: it was built in the first half of the 20th century and consecrated only in 1960. It was made on a model of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. The similarities with the Roman basilica are more evident both inside and out: the facade, the dome, the colors, the marble, the structure of the aisles (there is not even a more modest statue of piety); All of which are named after the “small St. Peter”. In it is the Tamburini (the most renowned Italian organist) manufactured in 1964 and a positive Baroque organ built in 1769 by Domenico Antonio Rossi Next to the basilica there is the entrance to the catacombs of San Gennaro from the 2nd century AD. Opening hours: 8:30-18:30 Admission: free How to get there: Metro Line 2 Cavour
9. Basilica of Santa Maria della SanitàThe Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità was erected in 1600 on the site of the catacombs of San Gaudioso. It was dedicated to Santa Maria, but it is also known as San Vincenzo Sanctuary Church as it houses the statue of the Holy Spanish Dominican Vincenzo Ferreri, known as’ O Munacone. The church contains numerous testimonies of manieristic, classicist and baroque currents, and is famous for the majestic staircase leading to the apse where the sculpture of the “Madonna della Sanità” by Michelangelo Naccherino is placed; Below the presbytery, the entrance to the early Christian basilica opens. It contains many works by Luca Giordano, Andrea Vaccaro. Opening hours: 10:00 to 13:00 Admission: free How to get there: Metro Line 1 Museo/ Metro Line 2 Cavour
8. Certosa of San MartinoThe Church of San Martino is located inside the Certosa homonymous, erected in 1325 by Carlo D’Angiò. The sovereign wanted it in a dominant position of the city, which is why it rises on the hill overlooking the whole Gulf of Naples. The complex has undergone remodeling and extensions in Baroque style, to the point that today the charter is one of the greatest examples of Neapolitan painting and sculpture of the sixteenth century. The church is made up of a single nave with eight side chapels, covered with precious marble tarsie. The vault, which retains the early 14th century structure, is redone by Giovanni Lanfranco in 1637 and depicts the Ascension of Christ in a glory of golden light. In the chorus, large canvases on the walls are commissioned to the greatest artists of the seventeenth century: Guido Reni, Massimo Stanzione, Jusepe de Ribera, Battistello Caracciolo. In the monumental sacristy, the precious walnut cabinets were made by Flemish and Neapolitan artists. Opening hours: 9: 30-17: 00 Admission: € 6 / € 3 reduced How to get there: Metro Line 1 Vanvitelli
7. Basilica of San Lorenzo MaggioreThe Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is located in Piazza San Gaetano, in the heart of the ancient city center and is an architectural jewel of inestimable importance, the result of the stratification of three different epochs: the greek one, the roman one and finally the medievalone. It was built in 1270, on the remains of an early Christian church from the 6th century AD, by the the monarch Carlo I D’Angiò, according to the unmistakable French Gothic style(visible in the spectacular circular apse), mixed with the Franciscan one. It was in this basilica that the italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio met his beloved “Fiammetta” for the first time, exactly in 1334, during the mass of Holy Saturday took place. Opening hours: 9: 30-17: 30 Admission: € 9 / € 7 reduced How to get there: Metro Line 1 Dante
6. Church of Sant’Eligio MaggioreThe Church of Sant’Eligio Maggiore, located near Piazza Mercato, is the oldest gothic church in the city. It was built by D’Angiò in 1270 in honor of the saints Eligio, Dionisio andMartino. You can enter the complex sideways, from a stumped portal rich in naturalistic motifs of French Gothic style. The interior, in yellow tuft, is undoubtedly elegant and austere. There are, however, heavy remodeling of restorations following the Second World War, but there are still important works, such as the painting by Massimo Stanzioneon the altar and representing the three saints and the “Universal Tribute” of the Flemish painter Cornelis Smet, whom somebody claims to be remodeled by Michelangelo. Of remarkable beauty is the ancient double-dial clock contained in the fifteenth-century double storey. Opening hours: 8: 30-13: 00 Admission: free How to get there: 15 minutes walk from Piazza Garibaldi
5. Church of Gesù NuovoIn the Gesù Nuovo Square, behind the facade of black stone of the Renaissance Palace Sanseverino, you can find the amazing Church of Gesù Nuovo. The Church was built by the Jesuits and inaugurated in 1597; it boats the highest concentrations of painting and baroque sculpture of the most influential artists of the neapolitan school. Among the rich marble decorations, frescoes and paintings, the interior features, among others, works by Ribera, Fanzago and Giordano; Opening hours: 07: 00-12: 30/16: 00-19: 45 Admission: free How to get there: Metro Line 1 University, Dante / Metro Line 2 Cavour
4. Church of San Domenico MaggioreLocated on the square of the same name in the heart of the old town, it was built by Carlo d’Angiò between 1283 and 1324 in Gothic forms, incorporating a pre-existing church from the 10th century BC. It is considered the most important place for the spread of dominican order in southern Italy and had a long tradition of collaboration with illustrious personalities, such as Tommaso D’Aquino, Giordano Bruno and Tommaso Campanella. Over the centuries, it has been restored several times, but the most important remake was operated by Vaccaro who transformed its original Gothic forms into Baroque. The church is full of works of art, in particular, the seventeenth-century major altar work of Fanzago and the canvases of Solimena and De Vivo. Opening hours: 10:00-19:00 Admission: free How to get there: Metro Line 1 University, Dante / Metro Line 2 Cavour
3. Church of San Gregorio ArmenoThe Church of St.Gregory of Armenia, also known as the Church of Santa Patrizia, is a wonderful example of Neapolitan Baroque. The complex is situated above the ruins of a sanctuary dedicated to goddess Cerere. It was founded in the eighth century by the nuns of San Basilio fleeing the East with part of the relics of St. Gregory, patriarch of Armenia. Inside the building was also brought to the nineteenth century the body of Saint Patrick, considered a descendant of Emperor Constantine. With the passing of time in Naples, the worship of the Holy One became almost stronger than that of the Saint. Along with the well-known miracle of St. Gennaro, that of Santa Patrizia also sees the blood liquefactionof the santa, every tuesday and every August 25, on a day when she is celebrated. Opening hours: 9:30-12:00 Admission: free How to get there: Metro Line 1 University, Dante / Metro Line 2 Cavour
2. Basilica of Santa ChiaraIt was raised from 1310 to 1340 by the monarch Roberto D’Angiò and located in the heart of the historic center of Naples. The original Gothic plant followed a Baroque renovation in the 17th century, until it was almost completely destroyed by the bombings of the allies during the Second World War. Then the basilica was restored in its original Gothic form. The interior strikes for its vastness and simplicity; inside the building you could also find the tomb of King Roberto and the tomb of the national italian hero Salvo d’Acquisto. More over in the Basilica you could visit a priceless treasure: the cloister of the Clarisse, designed by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro and decorated with eighteenth century majolica by Giuseppe and Donato Massa. Opening hours: 7: 30-12: 30/16: 00-19: 45 Admission: free How to get there: Metro Line 1 University, Dante / Metro Line 2 Cavour
1. Naples CathedralThe Cathedral was built under the Anjou in 1200, on the remains of the ancient temple dedicated to God Apollo, but reworked over the centuries, to become one of the most important churches in the city. The Naples Cathedral is the result of the overlapping of three different styles: the pure Gothic style of the 13th century, the 17th-century Baroqueand the 19th-century neo-Gothic (viewable by the imposing white marble facade). Inside the building you can find treasures and riches known all over the world, such as the famous byzantine mosaic entirely conceived and made up of gold and the wonderful paintings by Luca Giordano. The main attraction is the crypt of St. Gennaro, the patron saint of the city, where we find the skull of the saint and the ampoule that encloses his blood, the object of the “miracle” of liquefaction.
Opening hours: 8:30-12:30/16:30-19:00
How to get there: Metro Line 1 University / Metro Line 2 Cavour