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Spaccanapoli, Naples

A Stroll Through the Heart of Naples
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.5 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Spaccanapoli is the informal designation given to the long, straight street running down the middle of Naples’s centro storico ... more »

Tips:  Morning is the best time to make this walk—many of the churches are closed in the afternoon. The route is a mile and a half long; done... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Gesù Nuovo

Opulenza and magnificenza are the words that come to mind when describing this floridly baroque church, the centerpiece of the Piazza del Gesù Nuovo. Its formidable diamond-point facade is actually a remnant of the Renaissance palace of the Sanseverino princes (1470), destroyed to make way, in 1584–1601, for a generically stupendous... More

Across from the Gesù Nuovo and offering a stark and telling contrast to the opulence of that church, Santa Chiara is the leading monument of Angevin Gothic in Naples. The fashionable church for the nobility in the 14th century, and a favorite Angevin church from the start, Santa Chiara was intended to be a great dynastic monument by Robert ... More

One of the largest churches of Spaccanapoli, this Dominican house of worship was originally constructed by Charles I of Anjou in 1238. Legend has it that a painting of the crucifixion spoke to St. Thomas Aquinas when he was at prayer here. This early structure, however, was nearly gutted by a fire three centuries later and, in 1850, a neo-Gothic... More

Rightly one of the emblematic monuments of Naples in the popular imagination, this dazzling masterpiece, the funerary chapel of the Sangro di Sansevero princes, combines noble swagger, overwhelming color, and a touch of the macabre—which is to say, it expresses Naples perfectly. The di Sangros were renowned military leaders as far back as the Dark... More

5. Monte di Pietà

Lush and lavish, this baroque-era landmark is a must-see for anyone interested in Neapolitan decorative arts. As Spaccanapoli was home to both Naples' poorest and richest residents, the latter formed several charitable institutions, of which the Monte di Pietà was one of the most prominent. At the beginning of the 16th century, it... More

One of the defining landmarks of Spaccanapoli, this octagonal church was built around the corner from the Duomo (practically in front of its constantly used side door) for a charitable institution founded in 1601 by seven noblemen. The institution's aim was to carry out acts of Christian charity: feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, nursing the ... More

7. Duomo di San Gennaro

The shrine to the paterfamilias of Naples, San Gennaro, the city's cathedral is home to the saint's devotional chapel, among the most spectacular—in the show-biz sense of the word—in the city. With a colonnade leading to an apse bursting with light and Baroque splendor, the Duomo's nave makes a fitting setting for the famous Miracle of the Blood, ... More

Set on Via San Gregorio Armeno, the street that is lined with Naples' most adorable Presepe—or Nativity crèche scene–emporiums—and landmarked by a picturesque campanile, this convent is one of the oldest and most important in Naples. The nuns (often the daughters of Naples' richest families) who lived here must have been disappointed with... More

One of the grandest medieval churches of the Decumano Maggiore, San Lorenzo features a very unmedieval facade of 18th-century splendor. Due to the effects and threats of earthquakes, the church was reinforced and reshaped along baroque lines in the 17th and 18th centuries, and remaining from this phase is the facade by Ferdinando Sanfelice (1742) ... More