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Fontanelle Cemetery in Naples

The Fontanelle Cemetery in Naples is a unique and fascinating place that contains a particular and evocative history. Located in the Rione Sanità district, this ancient cemetery has become an unmissable stop for visitors who wish to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of the city.

The name “Fontanelle”, that in italian means “little fountain”, derives from the numerous water sources that were found in this area. Initially, it was just a tuff quarry used to extract building material for the city. However, in the 16th century, the quarry was transformed into a mass burial site following a plague epidemic that hit Naples. Over the centuries, the cemetery has grown and taken on an important role in Neapolitan popular culture.

What makes the Fontanelle Cemetery so particular is the practice of “beggarly souls”. According to tradition, people who could not afford a grave or niche in a traditional cemetery were buried here. The remains of the deceased were arranged informally, without coffins, and the skeletons were placed in niches or piled up in catacombs. This practice gave rise to a real community of souls, where visitors could make offerings and pray for abandoned souls.

Today, the Fontanelle Cemetery has become a place of great historical and cultural interest. Many visitors come here to admire the thousands of skulls and bones lining the walls of the catacombs. These silent testimonies of life and death evoke deep emotions and reflections on the transitory nature of human existence.

How to visit the Fontanelle Cemetery?

The visit to the Fontanelle Cemetery is an intense and evocative experience that allows you to come into contact with the history, culture and traditions of Naples. It is a place that encourages reflection on life and death, on the value of memory and the fragility of human existence. Through its dark and silent spaces, the cemetery conveys a sense of mystery and deep connection with the past.

Over the years, the cemetery has been the subject of restoration, in order to preserve its integrity and make it accessible to the public. Unfortunately, to date, precisely due to one of these restoration interventions, the Fontanelle Cemetery is closed to visits.

The Fontanelle Cemetery is a unique place of its kind, which fascinates and strikes visitors with its evocative atmosphere. It is an opportunity to discover a different and lesser-known aspect of the history of Naples, immersing yourself in its popular traditions and the spirituality of the Neapolitan people