Naples Underground: Stories from Beneath the City
There are over 10 catacombs that still exists in Naples, the most famous are the Catacombs of San Gennaro which date back to the 2nd Century.
Starting with the Catacombs of San Gennaro, under the Sanitá district, are the largest Catacombs in southern Italy. They cover around 5600 square meters and they are home to the remains of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples. The catacombs are arranged on two levels, with the lower one dating back to the first and second centuries. San Gennaro catacombs are known for frescoes and the “Crypt of the Bishops”, where some Neapolitan bishops are buried.
Also visit the catacombs of San Gaudioso, lost for centuries. They were rediscovered when Dominicans began the construction of Santa Maria della Sanitá Church in 1601. The actual burial site dates back to the fifth century. Although not the largest catacomb it has an impressive collection of 5th and 6th century mosaics and an interesting insight into the burial practices that took place.
Finally, visit the Fontanelle cemetery. Located in a cave in the hillside, it was built to as a place to put bodies that had already been interred in local churches, to make room for the newly dead to rest in their local churches within the city walls. In 1656 victims of the plague were to also join them, before becoming a paupers’ cemetery in the later centuries.
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