Ten most stunning churches in Naples

Not everybody knows that Naples boasts the highest number of churches in the world; we are talking about unimaginable artistic and spiritual assets formed over the course of seventeen centuries. For this reason, Naples is known as the City of the 500 Domes.

In Naples, you will find pre-Christian, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical churches. You will embark on a path of mysticism, religious history, and more. It doesn't matter whether you're religious or not; these churches will fascinate you.

 

Naples Cathedral

Opening hours: 8:30AM to 12.30PM — 4:30PM to 7:00PM

Directions: Subway line 1 stop: “Università”; Subway line 2 stop: “Cavour.”

Free entry

 

The Cathedral that we see today was commissioned by the Ajou family in 1200 on the foundations of the old temple dedicated to the Roman god Apollo. During the centuries it was subject to several renovations, and what we see today is a mix of different architectural styles: Gothic from the fourteenth century, seventeenth-century Baroque, and the nineteenth-century Neo-Gothic, as evidenced by the white marble facade.

The Cathedral stores unbelievable treasures that are renowned all over the world, as a gold Byzantine mosaic and priceless paintings from Luca Giordano. Without a doubt, the main attraction for tourists and residents is the crypt of Saint Gennaro, the city's patron saint. The crypt stores the skull of the saint and the idolized vial that preserves the blood of the Saint himself. Blood that is at the center of the miracle of Saint Gennaro.

 

Basilica of Santa Chiara

Opening hours: 7:30AM— 12:30PM ; 4:00PM— 7:45PM

Directions: Subway Line 1, Stop: Università | Subway Line 2, Stop: Cavour

Free entry

 

The Saint Chiara Church was built between 1310 and 1340 by the King of Ajou, and it can be found in the heart of Naples' historic center. Built following the Gothic style, it was later renovated following the Baroque style of the seventeenth-century. During WWII, the majority of the Church was destroyed by the Allied powers' bombs. After the war, the renovation continued following the Gothic style.

On the inside, tourists will be surprised by the simplicity and the depth of the space. Behind the main altar is tomb of King Robert, and between other small chapels, sits the tomb of national hero Salvo D’Acquisto. One thing that you don’t want to miss is the cloister of the Clarisses, designed by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro and beautifully garnished with eighteenth-century majolicas by Giuseppe and Donato Massa.

 

Gesù Nuovo Church

Opening hours: 7:00AM— 12:30PM ; 4:00PM — 7:45PM

Directions: Subway Line 1, Stop: Università | Subway Line 2, Stop: Cavour

Free entry

 

Behind the facade of Sanseverino Palace in Naples' piazza del Gesù Nuovo (New Jesus Square) lies the hidden the New Jesus church, built by the Jesuits in 1597. One of the most important churches in Naples, New Jesus Church, is full of beautiful Baroque paintings and sculptures. Inside, tourists can see works by Ribera, Fanzago, and Giordano.

Above the altar are eight busts of saints, like Ignatius of Loyola and Joseph Moscati. In the church, there are even preserved remains of the Saint and ex voto dedicated to him.

 

St. Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica

Opening hours: 8:30am - 7:30pm

Directions: Subway Line 1, Stop: Municipio or Toledo

Free entry

 

The Church is located in the heart of the historic city center. It's a unique church made by the layering of three different periods: Greek, Roman, and Medieval.

It was built by King Charles I of Anjou on the site of a fifth century Christian church and is a mix of the Gothic and Franciscan styles. In this exact church, the renowned Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio met his beloved noblewoman and muse, Fiammetta, in 1334 on Holy Saturday.

 

St. Domenico Maggiore Church

Opening hours: 10:00AM — 7:00PM

Directions: Subway Line 1, Stop: Università or Dante

Free entry

 

Located in the square with the same name, this church was built by Charles I of Anjou between 1283 and 1324 in Gothic style and incorporates a smaller original church, built on the same site in the tenth century.

It's one the most important churches in Naples because it's believed that from there, the Dominican Order developed in all of southern Italy. The Dominican Order was home to some popular Italian historic figures like Thomas Aquinas, Giordano Bruno, and Thomas Campanella. Over the centuries there have been several renovations to the Church. The most important one was the one made by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro that changed the old Gothic forms into Baroque ones.

 

St. Gregory of Armenia

Opening hours: 09:30AM — 12:00PM

Directions: Subway Line 1, Stop: Dante | Subway Line 2, Stop: Cavour

Free entry

 

This church is a unique example of Neapolitan Baroque. As with many other churches, this one was also built on old temple, which was dedicated to the goddess Ceres. The modern church is dedicated to S. Gregory because a group of nuns escaped from the Byzantine Empire with the relics of St. Gregory (Bishop of Armenia), and established themselves here in 1574 .

The Church is also renowned as the burial site of Saint Patricia, who is considered a descendant of Constantine the Great, Emperor of the Roman. Every year on the 25th of August, believers gather to see her blood liquefy.

 

St. Eligio Maggiore Church

Opening hours: 08:30AM— 1:00PM

Directions: Walk 15 minutes from Garibaldi Square

Free entry

 

The Saint Eligio Maggiore Church is located near Market Square, and it is the most ancient Gothic parish in Naples. It was built in 1270 from Charles I of Anjou and also dedicated to Saint Dionysus and Martin.

Beyond the beautiful entrance in perfect French Gothic style, the interior, in yellow tuff, is simple yet austere. Several renovations were made, especially after the WWII bombing of Naples. Tourists can see several unique pieces of art on display–everything from work by Massimo Stanzione to Flemish painter Cornelis Smet's Universal Judgment. The clock on display on the outside fifteenth-century arch is also strikingly beautiful.

 

Church of San Martino

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5:00pm

Directions: Subway Line 1 Vanvitelli

Price: €6 / €3 reduced

 

The Church of San Martino is located inside the homonymous Certosa, built in 1325 by order of Carlo D'Angiò . The sovereign wanted it in a dominant position of the city, and that is why it stands on the hill overlooking the entire Gulf of Naples. The complex has undergone changes and extensions in the Baroque style, to the point that today the Charterhouse is one of the greatest examples of Neapolitan painting and sculpture of the seventeenth century.

The church consists of a single nave with eight side chapels, covered with precious marble inlays. The vault, which preserves the original fourteenth-century structure, is repainted by Giovanni Lanfranco in 1637 and depicts the Ascension of Christ in a glory of golden light. In the choir, the large canvases on the walls are commissioned to the greatest artists of the seventeenth century: Guido Reni, Massimo Stanzione, Jusepe de Ribera, Battistello Caracciolo. In the monumental sacristy, the valuable walnut wardrobes were made by Flemish and Neapolitan artists.

 

St. Maria della Sanità Basilica

Opening hours: 8:30am - 6:30pm

Directions: Metro Line 2 Cavour

Free entry

 
The Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità was erected in 1600 on the website of catacombs of San Gaudioso . It was dedicated to Santa Maria but is also known as the church of San Vincenzo alla Sanità as it houses the statue of the Spanish Dominican saint Vincenzo Ferreri, called 'O Munacone. The church contains numerous testimonies of mannerist, classic and baroque currents, and is famous for its majestic pincer-like stairway to the apse where is placed the sculpture of the Madonna della Sanità Michelangelo Naccherino ; beneath the presbytery, the entrance to the early Christian basilica opens. It contains many works by Luca Giordano, Andrea Vaccaro.
 

Madre del Buon Consiglio Basilica

Orari di apertura: 8:30am - 6:30pm

Directions: Metro Line 2 Cavour

Free entry

 

The Basilica of the Crowned Mother of Good Counsel is the most young of the city: it was built in the first half of the twentieth century and consecrated only in 1960. It was built on the model of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

The similarities with the Roman basilica are more evident both outside and inside: the façade, the dome, the colors, the marble, the structure of the naves (there is not even a more modest statue of piety); all references that have earned her the nickname of the "little Saint Peter". Inside there is the Tamburini pipe organ (the most renowned Italian organ builder) built in 1964 and a positive baroque organ built in 1769 by Domenico Antonio Rossi. Next to the basilica is the entrance to the catacombs of San Gennaro dating back to the II century AD.