The history of the church of Sant'Aniello in Caponapoli

The church of Sant'Aniello in Caponapoli is an unmissable stop on your tour of the city of Naples. The church is located at the end of the steep ascent of Via De Crecchio, at the highest point of the Neapolitan historical center. An area already appreciated and praised by the scholars of the past centuries for the beauty and particularity of its landscape.

The history of the sanctuary is closely linked to that of Sant'Agnello, bishop of Naples in the sixth century, elected, after his death, seventh patron of Naples and protector of the kingdom. In fact it is said that the parents of the future saint went to those places in prayer to ask, to a miraculous image of the Madonna preserved there, the birth of an heir. The little Agnello arrived, the two faithful founded a small church, called precisely Santa Maria Intercede. And it was right there, at the end of his existential journey, that Agnello, according to legend, was buried ...

The most recent history of the church began in 1517 when Giovan Maria Poderico, bishop of Taranto, decided to expand the existing church, which thus became the transept of the new building.

The church of Sant'Aniello in Caponapoli: a rediscovered treasure

With the suppression of religious orders in the French decade, a slow and inexorable decline began for the church of Sant'Aniello in Caponapoli. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the transfer of the parish to Santa Maria di Costantinopoli represents the first stage of the endless hemorrhage of works of art that struck the church. The bombardment of 1943 and the consequent state of abandonment, the many thefts and vandalism achieved, have contributed to making the precious monument the ghost of itself, precluded for decades by the Neapolitans and visitors.

Fortunately, however, in the last few years, after a long restoration work conducted by the Superintendency, the prestigious monument was reopened, also thanks to the combined action of the Archiepiscopal Curia of Naples and Legambiente Campania that manage and promote its use and enhancement . 

A rediscovered treasure, which despite the many injuries suffered, can still give the visitor joys and emotions. In fact of extraordinary prestige is the splendid high altar made in marble by Girolamo Santacroce around 1524. To act as a counterpoint to the magnificent masterpiece of the Santacroce, the Santa Dorotea by Giovanni da Nola, slightly posthumous, located in the left transept. 

In the center of the nave, then, collapsed due to the aforementioned bombings, it is possible to admire some sections of the Greek walls of the fourth century BC and the Roman ones of the second century A.D. and also some tombs from the early Middle Ages. An archaeological heritage made enjoyable thanks to a continuous structural glass walkway.

How to reach the church of Sant'Aniello in Caponapoli

The church of Sant'Aniello in Caponapoli is located in Vico S. Aniello in Caponapoli, 9 and is easily accessible by line 1 (Museum stop) and line 2 (Piazza Cavour stop).

The church can be visited on Monday from 17:00 to 19:00; Thursday and Friday from 9.00 to 12.30; Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30.