Populated by sirens and sibyls, the perfect setting for magicians and alchemists, Naples is the magic city par excellence where myths and magic, religion and superstition merge. . Just take a tour of the historic center to feel the persistence of such arcane traditions. There are so many stories, that circulate through the mouth of the people on some places of the city, stories that make Naples an unknown, magical and cloaked city of an aura of mystery.
Some places, in particular have always had the reputation of being linked to legendary and esoteric cults, whose nature and meaning has not yet found a rational explanation of a scientific nature. Let's see what are the most known places in Esoteric Naples, which is worth visiting at least once in your life.
Also called with the name of Church of Santa Maria della Pietà or of Pietatella , the Cappella Sansevero was built by a legendary and ambiguous figure, Prince Raimondo di Sangro , who enjoyed the fame of an alchemist and magician in Naples. According to some rumors, it seems that the chapel was built on an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. It hosts works of art of extraordinary artistic and aesthetic importance, first of all the "Veiled Christ" of Giuseppe Sanmartino ; the sculpture is characterized by such beauty, that Antonio Canova, not being able to buy it, declared that he would gladly donated ten years of his own life, in order to be given the paternity of such a masterpiece.
Santa Maria la Nova Church
The church, located a few steps from Piazza Giovanni Bovio (Metro: "University"), was built in Baroque style, between 1279 and 1599. To attract the attention of visitors, inside the frescoed cloister , is a mysterious dragon sculpted on the façade of a mysterious tomb, attributed to Vlad III of Wallachia, the Count Dracula! The question immediately stirred up the curiosity of the University of Tallinn. The scholars of the Estonian University have traced some decorative elements, which would leave thinking about the tomb of the king / vampire. First of all, the dragon, on the façade of the wing, would be very similar to that on the coats of arms of the Blasa and Ferrillo families, from which Vlad descended; very strange would be the two sphinxes, symbol of the city of Thebes, whose name has similarities with that of Vlad Ţepeş, which, according to the Giandomenico, Glinni and Barbatelli, would have died in Naples; finally, not having had the possibility, for legal reasons, to open the tomb, the team of researchers, through a probe, would have detected a much higher internal temperature than that of the external environment. An unresolved mystery in esoteric Naples.
Dug inside an ancient quarry, in the heart of the folklore Rione Sanità , The Cemetery of the Fountains welcomes the remains of the victims of the great plague of 1636 and the cholera epidemic, which killed Naples exactly two centuries later. Until the early 50s of the last century, the monumental site was the object of an extraordinary and unusual cult, that of the "pezzentelle souls": the faithful had the opportunity to "temporarily" adopt the skull of a dead person unknown to them, of which they invoked the soul, to obtain graces and favors and to get hold of the winning numbers at the lottery. After endless prayers, if the soul fulfilled the request, the faithful, after having carefully cleaned it upIt was polished and placed in a hand-made casing made from boxes of biscuits and / or pieces of aluminum and cardboard. There are many legends that circulate around this cult, like that of the crying skull or the captain.
Gesù Nuovo Church
In Gesù Nuovo Square, the beating heart of the historic center and meeting place of the Neapolitan youth, stands a majestic cult building, the Church of the New Jesus . Built on the ancient Sanseverino palace, at the behest of Roberto Sanseverino, prince of Salerno, the church has a rusticated facade, on which some rather strange signs have been found: some have considered it an esoteric code written in Sanskrit, others have suggested that it may be a communication system used by stone workers.
In addition to the places that fascinate for the mystery that surrounds them, the history of Naples is full of legendary myths and figures, ghost stories and wandering souls.
Here are the stories of the most fascinating ghosts
St. Domenico MaggioreIn 1590 the Palazzo Sansevero in Naples was the scene of an unfortunate murder. On the night of 18 October, Prince Carlo Gesualdo decided the fate of his wife and his lover Fabrizio Carafa, Duke of Andria. Two assassins knocked at the lovers' door and murdered them. The bodies of the two lovers were exposed on the door of the building as a claim against Prince Charles of Venosa, who later fled from Naples for fear of revenge by the Carafa family. It is said that the restless soul of Mary, from that day, wanders every night among the dark streets of Piazza San Domenico Maggiore emitting loud lamentations and sobs, in search of the deceased lover.
Donn’Anna PalaceThe story that characterizes Palazzo Donn'Anna tells a story of two lovers. The palace was owned by Donna Anna Carafa who, as usual among the bourgeoisie, organized various events. In a palace party the staging of a comedy was held whose actors were nobles. Among the protagonists were Donna Mercede De Las and Gaetano di Capasenna. According to the legend, in the last scene the two kissed with transport and passion. The scene maddened Donna Anne, as Gaetano was secretly her lover. Following that show the two women quarreled several times, until one day Mercede disappeared. Gaetano looked for the woman everywhere and every day of his life until he met death. It is said that the souls of the two lovers are still wandering around the building, looking for one another.
Donna Albina, Donna Regina and Donna RomitaIn 1320 in Naples there was a noble family with the surname Toraldo. The Toraldo family was characterized by three young, likeable, pure and devoted daughters. On his mother's death, the father decided to marry the eldest daughter, Regina, to Don Filippo Capece: a pleasant and famous young man among the court girls. The sisters confessed to Regina that they were secretly in love with this man and she too revealed the same love. The father strongly desired this marriage because by arrangement with King Robert D'Angiò, the heirs received the surname from the mother and would continue the descendants of the Toraldo. Unfortunately, the marriage did not occur because the three sisters, after months of malaise, decided to enter a convent and found three monasteries to avoid hurting and breaking the dreams of love of others. It is said that the ghosts of the three sisters roam the historic center in search of the beloved's gaze, seeking, escaping and supporting each other.
Bella 'Mbriana is an angelic and benign presence that lives in the Neapolitan houses. It is said that it manifests itself in the form of a gecko or behind the movement of the tents and its presence means balance, well-being, health and good omen. In ancient times it was usual to leave an empty chair to let the woman rest and if all the chairs were occupied, if it was announced a move or a renovation was risky because the Bella Mbriana could decide to leave annoyed.
The unhappy Breed of Capodimonte
It is said that in the Basilica of the Incoronata del Buonconsiglio there is the ghost of a young woman who, due to a bad illness, died prematurely the day before her marriage. The church of Capodimonte would have been the setting that should have crowned that dream. It seems that it is here that the ghost of the woman appears nostalgic and in pain. It seems that in spring she shows herself to the unmarried women sitting on the stairs, in all her despair.
Phantom of the St. Chiara ChurchThe church of Santa Chiara was strongly desired by King Roberto D'Angiò and his wife Sancha of Mallorca. The woman was buried in the basilica July 28, 1945. From that day it is said that his ghost wanders for the monastery with his hands clasped in prayer, a long leg and face covered with tears. It is said that no one has ever been able to tell the details of his face as it hardly stops his prayers and his journey. It is also said that anyone who has tried to disturb it has never come out alive.
The Capodimonte ghostsCapodimonte was the hunting estate of the Bourbons in the 18th century. It is said that here still live the ghosts of two wonderful queens, that of Maria Carolina D'Asburgo and that of Maria Cristina di Borbone. Maria Carolina was the wife of Ferdinand IV and sister of Marie Antoinette of France. A court woman devoted to social life and party lover. It is said that at night you still organize great dances and events. At night you can often hear nineteenth-century music coming from the dance halls and you can see mysterious dancing figures that disappear with the lights of the day. It is also said that the ghost of her husband still lives in the district of San Leucio, Caserta, and periodically show the public with his majestic carriage. Maria Carolina instead occupies a different part of the Capodimonte residence. It seems to manifest itself in the woods, near the cave that took its name. According to some legends, Maria Carolina used to go to the cave to pray because she was very devoted but according to other stories she actually went to the cave to undertake extra conjugal relations because she was tired of her husband. It is said that he had many lovers and after each meeting, to hide all traces of his betrayals he threw his lover into the cave.
The Munaciello is a witty that is told in the Neapolitan tradition. The origins of the legend are uncertain. Matilde Serao, a well-known Neapolitan writer, claimed to be a historical figure who actually existed. According to the story, in the fifteenth century Caterina Frezza, the daughter of a well-known merchant, fell in love with Stefano Mariconda, an apprentice. They had an illicit and secret relationship because society did not accept that two people belonging to different social classes could approach and fall in love. During one of his dirty meetings, Stefano was attacked and killed, thrown into the void. Caterina chose to enter a convent and soon after a child was born, the result of that illicit love. The child was dwarfed and deformed, and despite the prayers, his health conditions did not improve. Although his mother dressed him as a priest as a sign of devotion in the hope that his condition would change.
People looked with distaste at his physical oddities and began to attribute to him benevolent characters and to attribute good luck or misfortune to the color of the hood of his habit: when it was red, it was a good omen, when it was black it was announcing disasters. After his mother's death, his life became complicated because all the negative events were attributed to him. It is said that the famigHis mother murdered him and later his spirit began to wander mischievously through the streets of the city to claim his person. There is, however, another story about the origins of this strange creature. Legend has it that the Munaciello was actually the "pozzaro", the ancient manager of the wells that could enter the houses of the rich undisturbed through the underground. When the man was not paid, he was introduced into the houses of the bourgeois and sometimes he stole but could also decide to leave a gift to his lover. Hence the tradition wants that the spirit is sometimes beneficial, sometimes spiteful.
In reality it expresses itself and manifests itself in three ways: by acts of sympathy, antipathy or appreciation. Appreciation is devotion to beautiful women, touches and grasps pleased and amused. The acts of antipathy, on the other hand, can be: the disappearance of objects, the breaking of dishes or mockery of the sleepers. But when Munaciello decides to express himself with sympathy it is a great fortune because he can leave coins or make jokes that leave the numbers to be interpreted by the lottery but it could also manifest physically and make a mark to follow him. It is said that anyone who follows him find a huge treasure, but be careful not to tell anything ... if you do not want to run into misfortune or bad luck!