Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, Naples
“Naples is a paradise. Everyone lives in a state of unselfconscious elation. It has happened to me as well. I barely recognise myself, I feel like a different man. Yesterday I said to myself: either you were mad before, or you’re mad now”. This was Goethe’s impression of the city in 1786.
Like so many of Naples’ treasures, one stumbles across the Duomo dell’Assunta unexpectedly. Nestled among historical buildings in the 18th century quarter between Via Anticaglia and Via Tribunali in the heart of the Greek and Roman city, its grandeur captivates visitors. The Cathedral is set back from the road on a porticoed square; officially devoted to Our Lady of the Assumption, it is more popularly dedicated to St. Januarius.
The street is abuzz with people; upon entering the cathedral, however, visitors are struck by the impossible distance between outside and in. It’s a mesmerising, intimate and solemn spectacle, exalted by its simplicity and clean architectural lines, and by the almost abstract essentialness of the pure Gothic geometry of its facade. The beams of light criss-crossing the long nave in the half-light of the temple allude to the miraculous suspension of time.
Here, anecdotes and legends are woven. Boccaccio narrates that upon reaching Naples, and having been robbed, Andreuccio of Perugia returned to the Umbrian capital richer than he could have imagined, having stolen a ruby ring from the finger of a bishop laid to rest in the Duomo. And perhaps there is more to this than mere legend.
Among the prayers of religious and lay persons, believers and authorities, this is where the miracle of the liquefaction St. Januarius’ blood occurs. Failure to liquefy is interpreted as an inauspicious sign for Naples and its inhabitants, suggesting that serious misfortune may befall the city.
Devotion and fantasy are combined in one of Naples’ most beautiful works of art, characterised by the fusion of multiple styles, from 4th century pure Gothic to 9th century neo-Gothic styles. The Duomo is the beating heart of Diocesan life, and enjoys a unique relationship with the city of Naples, which is profoundly marked by the bond.
Weekday: 8,30 – 13,30/14,30 – 19,30; holiday: 8,00 – 13,00/14,30 – 19,30
Opening hours archaeological area
weekday: 9,30 – 12,00/16,30 – 19,00; holiday: 8,00 – 12,00
User manual Campania Paths of the soul (pdf)
Reference: Don Vincenzo Papa
Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta
Via Duomo, 147 – 80138 Napoli (NA)
Web site: http://www.chiesadinapoli.it/