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The Catacombs of San Gennaro are ruins of Naples’ ancient paleo-Christian cemetery that dates back to the origin of Christianity. Comprising of the San Gaudioso, San Severo and San Gennaro cemeteries, this burial site was in use from the 3rd Century through to the 10th Century. Explore its two underground levels for an inspiring view of frescoes, arched passageways and chapels.
An ancient image of the Virgin Mary from the 5th or 6th Century, in a small church annex of the crypt of San Gaudioso, is part of the original construction of the Monastic complex of Santa Maria della Sanità which over the Centuries has undergone various drastic changes. The crypt, built in 1577, was handed over to the Dominicans who gave the lay Dominican architect Giuseppe Donzelli, also known as Fra'Nuvolo, the job of planning the church. The façade is white and decorated with gray architectural elements.
The San Gaudioso Catacombs are situated beneath the presbytery and the apse of the church of Santa Maria della Sanita. Legend has it that after having been deprived of everything by the vandal, King Genserico, the saint, along with many other religious people was forced onto an un-seaworthy boat and abandoned at sea. God then set them ashore in Naples where the saint and his companions founded a monastery. The skeleton used to be painted on the wall along with some symbolic object indicating either the status or the profession of the deceased.
Stella is a culturally rich neighborhood in the city of Naples which stretches from the locality around the National Archaeological Museum to the Capodimonte Art Museum. The area is full of a number of buildings of importance in terms of the heritage of the city, especially churches. Some important buildings found here include the Santa Maria Della Stella, the city hall, the Santissima Annunziata in Fonseca church and so on.
If you start from the National Museum and follow the Via Foria you will find the Porta San Gennaro immediately on the right after Piazza Cavour. It was rebuilt in the middle of the 15th Century following the city wall's relocation. In the large niche there is a fresco by Mattia Preti which has been recently restored.
Ospedale degli Incurabili is a prominent hospital which was built from the 16th century onward by incorporating into its premises several churches, monasteries and public buildings. Some of the churches which are incorporated in the making of this hospital include the Santa Maria Succurre Miseris dei Bianchi, the Santa Maria del Popolo, Santa Maria di Gerusalemm church and so on. The hospital is also famous for its opulent and lavishly decorated pharmacy which was built in the 18th century. Today, a part of the hospital has been transformed into a museum which has displays on health and medicine.
Sant'Agnello Maggiore is a Roman Catholic church which is speculated to be the burial site of the co-patron saint of the city Sant'Agnello who is said to have defended the city against Lombards. This medieval structure is built on a Roman Acropolis dating back to the 4th century. The church underwent further expansions and additions through the 16th century. Though the condition of the building deteriorated due to several factors, it was thoroughly renovated again in 2011 and reopened to the public. With its unique history and the old ruins in the basement level, the church is worth exploring.