Naples’ Duomo is the spiritual heart of the city. You may also say that it is the center of Neapolitan superstition. The cathedral is dedicated to the city’s patron, San Gennaro (St. Januarius), and a vial of his blood is held sacredly inside. During what may be the most important festival of the city, the Festa di San Gennaro, thousands of people congregate in the Duomo to hope for a miracle. The Saint’s blood is brought out with the hopes that it will liquefy. According to superstition, this miracle protects any harm or evil on the city of Naples. If the blood doesn’t liquefy disaster can strike. Coincidentally the miracle failed in 1944 and there was an eruption of Vesuvius. It failed once again in 1980 and an earthquake struck the city. The festival takes place three times a year, once on the first Sunday of May, and again on 19 September and 16 December.
This cathedral was built on top of previous churches, which were built on top of a temple for the god Neptune. The present Duomo was began in 1272 by Charles I of Anjou. Because of countless remodels over the centuries the Duomo’s stylistic characteristics come from several influences. Inside, in the Chapel of the Treasure of St. Januarius, the main attraction is the collection of famous frescoes by artists such as Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco, as well as alterpieces by Massimo Stanzione and Jusepe Ribera. Don’t forget the bronze railing by Cosimo Fanzago and the 14th century reliquary by French masters. Apart from these works you will find a plethora of other frescoes, canvasses and sculptures throughout the cathedral and the chapels.
Duomo: Via Duomo 081 44 90 97
Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am-12:30pm and 4:30-7pm. Sun, 8:30am-1pm and 5-7pm
How to go: Turn right out of hostel onto Via Depretis which becomes Corso Umberto. Walk about 10 minutes to Via Duomo. Take a left on Via Duomo and continue about 5 minutes. Duomo is on your right side.