Cimitero delle Fontanelle

Price guide: Free

Via delle Fontanelle 154, Naples, 80134

Price guide: Free

Cimitero delle Fontanelle
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By Jan Fuscoe, your Naples expert

I write for DK Eyewitness, Fodor's .... Read more
#6 of 9
expert-rated things to do in Naples
Expert overall rating:4.2 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Families with teenagers, First-time travellers, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Education, History, Sightseeing

Expert review of Cimitero delle Fontanelle

Death, skulls and superstition in Naples's spookiest 'attraction'.

The 17th century wasn't a good time for Naples: three uprisings, three famines, three earthquakes, five eruptions and three epidemics (including the great plague of 1656 which reportedly wiped out half the population of the city). The authorities chose this area to bury the dead as it was far enough (at the time) outside the city to avoid the risk of contamination. But by the time another cholera epidemic hit in 1835 it had become a repository for bodies from other cities (sounds strangely reminiscent of the current rubbish scandal, if you ask me). By the time bones had been brought here from the San Gaudioso catacombs, there were around 40,000 skulls and bones stored here.

During the Second World War supersticious locals began to 'adopt' a skull as a physical representation of a lost or missing son and began to pray to and leave little gifts for them, a ritual that continues (much to the chagrin of the Church) in some catacombs in the city.

Expert tips: 
Be respectful. The cult still has a following.

More information on Cimitero delle Fontanelle:

Price guide:
Cemetery, Historic site
Via delle Fontanelle 154, Naples, 80134
081 296944
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 9.30am-4.30pm. Closed Wednesdays.

Have you been to Cimitero delle Fontanelle? Would you recommended it?