Naples’ paleo-Christian Catacombs of San Gennaro (Catacombe di San Gennaro) are the most important in southern Italy. Used as a burial site from the rise of Christianity until the 10th century, they hold the tombs of many bishops—including Sant’Agrippino, the original patron saint of Naples—and well-preserved mosaics.
The Catacombs of San Gennaro, carved out of the soft tufo stone beneath Naples (Napoli), were used for thousands of Christian burials over 14,000 years, beginning in the second century. Now an archaeological site, the catacombs can be visited only with an official guided tour, so it is imperative to book ahead. You can also opt for a Naples walking tour that includes a visit to the Neapolitan catacombs and crypts with a tour guide. Naples’ second most important catacombs, the San Gaudioso Catacombs, are located beneath the nearby Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità and are included with a Catacombe di San Gennaro ticket.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The temperature in the catacombs is quite chilly, so bring a light jacket or sweater to stay warm during your visit.
- You will be on your feet during your catacomb tour, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
- The catacombs are fully accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The San Gennaro Catacombs are located in the Sanità neighborhood near the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte. Catch bus 168, 178, C63 or R4 to stop n. 1246 (National Museum) and continue on foot to Via Capodimonte. The entrance is next to the large church of Madre del Buon Consiglio.
When to Get There
Naples’ “city of the dead” is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. It’s cool all day long underground, so the catacombs are a welcome respite from the midday summer heat. Consider booking a tour during the warmest times of the day for a refreshing break.
San Gennaro and the Basilica di Sant’Agrippino
San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, was buried in these catacombs in the fifth century, and his tomb is one of the tour highlights (although his remains were later moved to the Cathedral of Naples). The catacombs are also home to the earliest known portrait of the saint, as well as the fourth-century underground Basilica di Sant’Agrippino.