Rione Sanità and Capodimonte

The Rione Sanità is today the part of Naples that lives the greatest social redemption. A ransom that comes from below and therefore strong, impetuous. A ransom that leads people to look for alternatives in culture, social and tourism, creating jobs in the district that are among the most problematic of all time.

I really want to emphasize how much in this part of Naples the citizens have understood the importance of historical, artistic and cultural riches and are exploiting the potentialities that were, just a short time ago, forgotten or for many, potentialities difficult to render real.

In this section the Health District is Capodimonte as it could be an excellent idea to join the visit to the Museum of Capodimonte, that of the Rione Sanità with all its beauties and the many things to discover.

And if you want to learn more, I invite you to click on our blog. The blog is constantly updated and will offer you not only ideas on what to visit, but give you technical details of the individual monuments of Naples.


Rione Sanità

The Health District is located in a valley used since the Greek-Roman era as a burial place. In this ward they arose ipogei Hellenistic and catacombs early Christian , like those of San Gennaro and San Gaudioso , tightening a strong relationship between man and death that has continued over the centuries, demonstrated by the Fontanelle cemetery , used to host the victims of the great plague of 1656. Initially intended to accommodate important noble families and wealthy bourgeois of the city (testimony of this, the majestic Palazzo Sanfelice in via Arena della Sanità and Palazzo dello Spagnolo Vergini), over time has become one of the most popular areas of Naples.

Basilica of Santa Maria alla Sanità

The Basilica is the heart of the district and rises above the the catacombs of San Gaudioso. Built between 1602 and 1610, its distinctive feature is the dome with yellow and green majolica, known throughout the city because it is immediately visible crossing the bridge of Health. The plan of the church is a Greek cross, with the presbytery raised to incorporate the previous paleochristian basilica, from which the catacomb is accessed. The Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità was born as a sign of devotion of the Neapolitan faithful to the Madonna, following the finding a fresco dating back to the 5th-6th century. This is the oldest representation of the Madonna in Naples, which is now in one of the chapels of the Basilica. The Basilica is a real pictorial paradise, which houses seventeenth-century works of art among its naves. In addition to its rich seventeenth-century heritage, the Basilica also houses works by contemporary artists such as Gianni Pisani, Annamaria Bova and Riccardo Dalisi. Many works of the second half of the seventeenth century were realized by Luca Giordano, like the canvas depicting the Virgin with Saints Giacinto, Rosa and Sant'Agnese and that dedicated to San Vincenzo Ferrer dear to the devotees. In 1677 Dionisio Lazzari created the marble pulpit, while the staircase was rebuilt in polychrome marble. Antisagrestia, frescoed by G.B. Di Pino, houses some votive offerings donated by the faithful to San Vincenzo il Monacone and leads to the elliptical cloister dominated by the so-called bridge of Sanità.

Sanità Underground

The subsoil of Health is a context of extraordinary cultural interest for the archaeological and historical-artistic stratification which bears witness to the funerary ideology in Naples from the end of the fourth century. B.C. to the present day. Several sections of the Hellenistic necropolis are known, the magnificent complexes of the Catacombs of San Gennaro , Catacombs of San Gaudioso , Catacombs of San Severo. The famous Fontanelle Cemetery , built inside a gigantic tuff quarry dug under the hill of Materdei, represents, together to the cult of pezzentelle souls the relationship that the Neapolitan people has always had with the beyond.


Fontanelle Cemetery

A suggestive and disturbing place. The origin of the Fontanelle cemetery is linked to the misfortunes of the Neapolitan people, in fact skeletons of people have arrived died due to the serious epidemics of plague and cholera that struck the city from the twelfth century onwards. The name derives from the presence of water sources located in this place in antiquity. The cemetery is a den of skeletons and skulls with their own legends, myths and surreal stories.

The path is characterized by an infinity of remains of men without identity, except for those preserved in the cases. The two bodies, distinct and preserved in a particular way, compared to the others, are those of Count Filippo Carafa and his wife Margherita. Behind the figure of Countess Margherita hides a legend due to the mummified position and the expression of her face. In fact it is said that the noblewoman is dead drowned because of a dumpling


Catacombs of San Gennaro

The Catacombs of San Gennaro are the largest of Southern Italy, they extend over an area of ​​about 5800 square meters on two levels, dug into the tuff of the Capodimonte hill to accommodate underground hypogea, commonly called tombs. The first nucleus of burials dates back to a noble family, of which it is possible to see, even today, the frescoes.

Catacombs of San Gaudioso

The catacomb structure, probably formed on the home to a pre-existing Greco-Roman necropolis, however, went developing in the then uninhabited Walloon Valley where, according to tradition, had found burial san Gaudioso , a bishop of the Northern Africa shipwrecked in Naples and lived here until his death after having founded a monastery having earned a reputation for holiness. Access to the catacombs is in the crypt, under the presbiterio raised in the church dedicated to the Madonna della Sanità. The Neapolitan actor Antonio De Curtis, in art Totò , was originally from the Rione Sanità and frequenter of its catacombs, where there is a fresco of death that wins overeverything that probably inspired Totò his poem 'A level .


Palazzo dello Spagnolo

It was erected in the 1738 . The realization of the monumental double-ramp staircase, defined as "falcon's wings", was conceived as a sort of meeting place, in which there was a real social life. Frequent visits were Carlo III di Borbone , that in the palace changed horses to take bubes, unique animals able to bring it up to Capodimonte along the steep road Virgins.

At the end of the century it was bought by a nobleman from Spain, Tommaso Atienza , whose nickname Spanish is the reason why the building is called today in this way. The palace is perhaps the most valuable example of civil architecture in style Neapolitan barocco , thanks above all to the exemplary grandeur of the main staircase with double ramp, which forms the internal façade of the building, as well as the main architectural characteristic of the Neapolitan baroque.


Museum of Capodimonte and Capodimonte Park

The National Museum of Capodimonte is located in the Capodimonte Park, a park used by the Bourbons for hunting activity. The palace was founded in 1735 when Charles of Bourbon decided to organize the works of art inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese. In 1830 it was finished under the guidance of the sovereign Ferdinando II, who later became the residence of the Dukes of Aosta until 1920, when it became the property of the state. After the war the National Museum of Capodimonte was officially inaugurated.

The museum is located inside the vast wood of Capodimonte. The palace is spread over three floors containing works of art that are fundamental for Italian and European culture. The first floor includes the Galleria Farnese, the Borgia collection, the De Cicco collection, the porcelain gallery, the Bourbon and Farnesian armory and part of the royal apartment. The Galleria Farnese is an indispensable stop for anyone coming to Naples as it is possible to admire works by artists such as Tiziano, Correggio and Parmigianino. Crossing the rooms of the royal apartment is a unique experience as it has remained unchanged over time and allows you to travel with the imagination by transporting visitors in a fairy tale. The second floor includes Neapolitan art, Caravaggio and the Caravaggeschi, the tapestry room and the contemporary art collection that extends and ends on the third floor.

It is advisable to visit the museum in the morning or on a beautiful sunny day to fully enjoy the park, organize a picnic, play, run or simply walk through the avenues of the forest. Despite being underestimated, the Capodimonte museum is a fundamental stage as it houses the works of art of the most important Italian and European artists. Do not miss the vision of the Flagellation of Christ by Caravaggio, a work of great importance for Neapolitan Baroque painting, with great visual and emotional impact. The museum also organizes exhibitions and often hosts internationally renowned paintings from all over the world.