The Cathedral of Naples is the largest church in the city and one of the most visited sights in Naples. The construction of this cathedral began in the 13th century under Charles I of Anjou and was inaugurated in 1315. Two older Christian churches were incorporated into the Cathedral and this is still clearly visible in the left wing. There are the basilica of Santa Restituta and the baptistery of San Giovanni, a very old baptistery from the 6th century. Note the mosaics in this baptistery that are about 15 centuries (!) old. Excavations under the church have revealed objects from the Greek and Roman periods.
The main attraction of this church is the chapel of San Gennaro the patron saint of the city of Naples, with on the main altar the silver bust containing the saint's skull. The chapel is decorated with frescoes by Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco. Januaris was beheaded in 305 during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian. In the Cathedral of Naples two urns are kept containing, according to legend, the coagulated blood of Januarius. Twice a year these urns are brought close to the head of Januaris, on the first Sunday in May and on 19 September. As if by some miracle, this ancient 'blood' becomes liquid again. To the great relief of the superstitious Neapolitans, because if the blood does not become liquid it means disaster.
Website (Italian): Duomo di Napoli
Address: Via Duomo Opening
Hours: 08.00-12.30 and 16.30-19.00
Entrance fee: free of charge
Consult the website of Duomo di Napoli for up-to-date price information and opening hours.