Journey to discover the Catacombs of San Gennaro
As you know, our blog dedicates a particular section dedicated to Naples and the beauties of Campania and precisely in this post we take you to discover the bowels of the city of Naples.C’is a heart that beats in the heart of the neapolitan capital, a place that is teeming with history, magic, art and culture … today we present the Catacombs of San Gennaro.
The guided tour of our choice is quite suggestive and starts at 20:00 on a Saturday evening. The boys of the Cooperative La Paranza,offer an aperitif and then down… hundred steps to take a dip in the most remote past.
The Catacombs of San Gennaro are arranged on two rather large levels made of Neapolitan yellow tuff, solid, strong and at the same time malleable
These catacombs date back to the 2nd .C. they were probably the tomb of a noble family and later became the property of Christians.
In the 4th .C. they housed the remains of Sant’Agrippino,the first patron saint of Naples and provided for a single nave in which the faithful could pray before his tomb.
The lower vestibule, still houses a large baptismal bath made by Bishop Paul II, who in the 8th century used them as a refuge from iconoclastic struggles.
The upper catacomb preserves some of the earliest Christian paintings in southern Italy.
From a homily of the 8th century and from a passage of the Chronicon of the Bishops of Naplesit appears that the tomb of St. Gennaro was in a cubiculum below the basilica of bishops.
The presence of the martyr’s tomb meant that the upper catacomb became a pilgrimage destination and a coveted burial site. Very significant is the famous stick that can be admired from above, a well-known symbol of the saint, whose remains are now preserved at the Cathedral of Naples.
Very important also the Crypt ofbishops, where the bishops of the city and the basilica adjectawere buried, an underground basilica with three naves.
From the tombs, information can be obtained about the society of the time and the organization in the middle of it.
To emphasize the importance of a family contributed some elements of the burial place, for example fresco or mosaic decorations.
To confirm this, in the catacombs it is possible to admire the tomb of the family of Theotecnus. The fresco, dating from the beginning of the 6th century, represents a buried family. The painting has three overlapping layers of painted plaster, probably because it was made all over again at the death of each of the components. They are represented with rich robes and ornaments indicating the high social status of the family.
The Catacombs of San Gennaro hold extremely interesting frescoes, such as those of Bitalia and Cerula (5th-6th .C.) . In general, however, what is striking about this treasure “under the feet” of the Neapolitans is the artistic heritage that is preserved in the catacombs: pagan paintings of the second century up to the Byzantine ones of the 9th-10th century.
The visit ends in the wonderful early Christian Basilica of San Gennaro extra moenia, an imposing three-nave building with a semicircular apse, which, over time. has undergone many modifications and influences, as evidenced by paintings and the structure itself. In addition, it is a very important bridge within the city of Naples.
Well, from the district of Capodimonte, from which you access the catacombs of San Gennaro, you find yourself in the heart of the city of Naples, precisely in the Sanità district, a neighborhood victim of prejudice and often isolated due to shocking events of black news, ended up in the national media.
This basilica, so bare and sober, today welcomes not only testimonies of the past but also the inspiration of modern times. In fact, it preserves two works of contemporary art such as Annamaria Bova’s Golgota and Emmanuele De Ruvo’s installation in In Down for Salvation,
Probably, this will not be the most complete and detailed article about the Catacombs of San Gennaro and perhaps it is fortunate because in this way you will be pushed to learn more and visit with your own eyes this place so suggestive.
Find all the info on the official website, (by the way beautiful, efficient and detailed)