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Church of San Domenico Maggiore

Set in one of Naples’ most attractive squares, this Gothic church contains fabulous frescoes by Cavallini and the tombs of several Italian royals.

Make your way past the cake shops and cafés and through the bustling crowds of the Piazza San Domenico and focus your attention on the high, Gothic façade of the church for which the square is named. This is one of the finest churches in the city. The building also includes a monastery in which the saint Thomas Aquinas once stayed.

Built between 1283 and 1324, the church has undergone several alterations over the years, most notably in the late 17th century when the entire façade was recast in a Baroque style. In the 19th century, however, work was carried out to restore it to its original Gothic design.

Inside, a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles attest to the different influences over the years. High gilded columns give the interior a spacious feel, which is heightened by the light pouring in from upper windows. Make your way to the Brancaccio Chapel, which contains the most impressive of the frescoes by Cavallini. Stories of Magdalene, Crucifixion, and Apostles Peter, Paul and Andrew are among the scenes depicted.

View the tombs of past Italian royalty in the Sacristy. Forty-five members of the ruling Aragonese family, including Ferdinand I, are buried here, housed in fittingly ornate tombs.

This church wasn’t the first to be built on this site. You can see the preserved remains of the original 10th-century Roman church within the central area.

If you get hungry, step back into the square and find a table at a pizza restaurant or a café selling the famous Neapolitan cakes. Towering above you from the top of a tall spire is a statue of St. Domenico. Monks believe he delivered them from plague in the 17th century.

The Church of San Domenico Maggiore is located in central Naples and is served by bus and metro. It’s free to enter the church, which is open year-round.


Guide to Exploring around San Domenico Maggiore


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