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24 Feb

Naples: the popular religion between art and miracles

Andris Hotel, in February takes you to discover the magical places, rich in mystery, in a Neapolitan atmoshere who gives suggestion between beliefs and spirituality.

The religious feeling and folk beliefs in Naples are intertwined, they merge into one and they are united in that mixture, unique and millennial, between faith and traditions. In the eighteenth century Naples was called „the city of five hundred domes“, then, following various disasters and the bombings of World War II, more than sixty churches have disappeared. Nevertheless, Napoli still has the highest number of religious buildings in the world.

From the famous Church of San Francesco di Paola, in Plebiscito square, built in imitation of the Roman Pantheon, to the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, the most important Gothic church in Naples: visit the places of worship of the city means knowing churches and shrines, monasteries and hermitages able to trace the history of authentic popular devotions, still today expressed in unique rituals in the world.

Like the miracle of the blood of San Gennaro, which is the religious festival par excellence. So, from Naples Cathedral to the Church of San Gennaro in Pozzuoli, from the streets of the city center to the hills of Capodimonte to those of Vomero, you can learn about all the places that trace the history of the saint patron of the capital of Campania.

In the city, as in the heart of the province, the dedication to the Marian cult is also very strong, it is practiced in various sacred places, between traditions, legends and customs. This is the case of the Church of Santa Maria di Piedigrotta of Naples, around which, after long time, the famous and secular homonym festivity is back, or of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine Maggiore, where the bell tower is burned, in honor of the Virgin Mary, on July 16 of each year.

But the cult of Madonna, in Campania, is mainly linked to the Shrine of Pompeii, one of the most important in Italy and pilgrimage destination for millions of faithful every year. More to the north, in Sant’Anastasia, there is the famous Shrine of Madonna dell’Arco. Its foundation is connected to the ritual of fujenti of Easter Monday. 

Another tradition deeply felt by the Neapolitans is connected to the cult of the souls in purgatory, to the remains of missing persons of which remained unknown identity. For this reason, they are called „pezzentelle“, a term which in neapolitan language indicates those poor people who have not had the opportunity to receive a proper burial. From the cemetery that is now known as Fontanelle Cemetery, in Naples, a journey begins through the world of old souls, in an authentic plot of magic, faith and mystery.

And yet, as you can not immerse yourself in silence and tranquility of places of immense spirituality?  From Santa Chiara that, with the Basilica and the Monastery, was among the first erected monasteries in the historic center of Naples, until the beautiful Hermitage of Camaldoli, exceptional landscape and great environmental value, there are so many isolated places where the pilgrim can find himself.

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