Napoli, the cradle of the mysteries

The other side of the city: 5 locations with a damn charm

Nicknamed in ancient times “the cradle of the mysteries of the Mediterranean”, Naples is full of unsolved mysteries and unusual stories that, thanks to the wise oratory of the Neapolitan people, have turned into suggestive legends told still today.

If you want to go hunting for ghosts or you wish to learn more about the curses that run through the alleys of the city then you absolutely must visit these 5 locations with a fascination cursed.

1. NEW JESUS SQUARE: THE CURSE OF THE ASHLAR AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE VIRGIN

The ashlar of New Jesus Church presents among the ancient stones the disturbing esoteric signs of a curse: as history attests, there was never peace between its walls for the members of the Sanseverino family, of which the building was the residence. But the statue of the Virgin, which dominates the square, represents the true mystery: at sunset, plays of light and shadows change its appearance. People swear that they no longer see the cloth but a sickle. At sunset Madonna’s statue is transformed into the Mexican deity Santa Muerte.

2. NEW JESUS CHURCH: THE CURSE OF THE WALLS, THE EXOTERISM AND THE MUSIC

The sinister fame of Sanseverino Palace is linked to the ancient curse given off by the stones of the ashlar. The Pipernieri Masters, experts in the manufacture of Piperno, the hardest stone to sculpt and carve, were a bit of a sorcerer. Offended by the Prince or corrupted by his enemies, the Masters placed stones with spikes in reverse, a practice that according to tradition attracts bad luck. There was never peace for the inhabitants of the palace. In 2010 a sensational discovery was made: the occult symbols seem the musical notes of a score, written in reverse.  The score is maybe connected to master Wagner, who stayed in Naples for a long period.

3. CAPPELLA SANSEVERO AND THE ANATOMICAL MACHINES OF RAIMONDO DE SANGRO, THE ALCHEMIST PRINCE

Among the meanders of the Sansevero Chapel, together with the wonder aroused by masterpieces of art like the Veiled Christ, you will experience amazement and anxiety for the anatomical machines of the Prince: a man and a woman gutted, with a false network of blood vessels so accurate that seem true. On the woman, the signs of an unfortunate birth. According to legend, the machines were the result of the Prince’s alchemical experiments on two servants still alive.

4. THE CULT OF THE “PEZZENTELLE” SOULS: THE CEMETERY OF THE FONTANELLE AND THE HEAD THAT SWEATS.

This great hypogeum used as an ossuary is the privileged observation point for one of the oldest cults in the city: that of the souls of Purgatory. Pushed by mercy for the dead, neapolitan women used to “adopt” a skull and pray for the soul of the dead or ask for a grace. Among thousands of skulls, one will attract your attention: that of Donna Concetta, the skull that sweats. Compared to the others, opaque and covered with dust, this one is always shiny and moist. According to the Neapolitans, when the skull exudes under the hand that caresses it, Concetta’s soul will grant the grace requested by the person who’s touching her face.

5. THE CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DELLE ANIME AND THE SKULL OF THE SOUL MATE

Another woman stands out among the abandoned souls: Lucia, buried in the seventeenth-century church of S. Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio in Arco. A masterpiece of Baroque art but also Hypogeum dedicated to the cult of abandoned souls: Lucia, a young bride who died before marriage, is easily recognizable by the bridal veil and the nuptial crown. Neapolitan single ladies ask her to intercede to find the soul mate.

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