Naples Cathedral

Cathedral in Naples

Main Facade Of Naples Cathedral
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Yair Haklai

Naples Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, is the primary Roman Catholic church in Naples, southern Italy, and serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Naples. It is affectionately known as the Cathedral of Saint Januarius, in honor of the city’s patron saint.

History of Naples Cathedral

Constructed in the Angevin Gothic style, the cathedral was initiated by King Charles I of Anjou and saw continued development under his successor, Charles II, finally completing in the early 14th century during the reign of Robert of Anjou. This majestic structure is built atop the remnants of two earlier paleo-Christian basilicas, with visible traces and subterranean excavations that have uncovered Greek and Roman artifacts.

Interior and Artwork of Naples Cathedral

The interior of Naples Cathedral is a treasure trove of historical and artistic significance. It houses the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of St. Januarius, renowned for its frescoes by Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco, altarpieces by Domenichino, Massimo Stanzione, and Jusepe Ribera, and a magnificent high altar by Francesco Solimena. The chapel’s intricate bronze railing crafted by Cosimo Fanzago and a precious 14th-century reliquary add to its allure.

Additional highlights include an Assumption by Pietro Perugino, works by Luca Giordano, and the ancient Paleo-Christian baptistery adorned with 4th-century mosaics. The cathedral also features the restored 18th-century main chapel with Baroque relief by Pietro Bracci and the Minutolo Chapel, which contains 14th-century frescoes mentioned in Boccaccio’s “Decameron.”

Miracle of the Blood

A defining feature of the cathedral is the vial containing the blood of Saint Januarius, which is ceremoniously displayed three times a year. According to local legend, the liquefaction of the saint’s blood is a sign of forthcoming fortune, whereas failure to liquefy portends disaster. Recent scientific analysis suggests that the vial’s contents might be a thixotropic gel, specifically a suspension of hydrated iron oxide, mimicking the properties of blood.

The phenomenon gained further attention during Pope Francis’s visit in 2015, when the blood appeared to liquefy, a phenomenon absent during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in 2007, hinting at the enduring mystery and significance of this ritual in Neapolitan culture.

The Naples Cathedral appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Naples!

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Visiting Naples Cathedral


Daily from 8 am to 12:30 pm, and from 4:30 pm to 7 pm.


Free entry. Baptistery: € 2 (£ 1.70)

Address: Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Via Duomo, Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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