San Gaudioso Catacombs (Catacombe di San Gaudioso)
The Catacombs of San Gaudioso are one of the oldest underground cemeteries in Naples, testimony to the city's long history and its citizens' complex relationship with the afterlife and the dead. This historic burial ground is located in one of the most important neighborhoods in the city, Rione Sanità, which once was home to nine different underground cemeteries.
- Location: Basilica di Santa Maria della Sanità, Piazza Sanità, n. 14 - Naples
- Hours: daily from 10AM to 1PM
- Duration of the visit: about 2 hours
- Ticket price: ,9; children under 6 free
- Directions: bus 168, 178, C63, or R4 (Basilica Incoronata - Catacombe San Gennaro stop)
Why Visit the Catacombe di San Gaudioso?
The Catacombe di San Gaudioso are the second largest in Naples after those of San Gennaro, with a history that dates back to the paleochristian era. In addition to ancient tombs, San Gaudioso is home to beautiful frescoes and mosaics from the 5th and 6th century that depict early Christian symbols like the fish, lamb, and grapevines with shoots. In the 1600s, the Catacombe di San Gaudioso became an important burial site for Naples' noble and aristocratic families. During your visit, you can discover a number of Neapolitan traditions and folklore around the cult of the dead and the afterlife, including rituals like the “scolatura dei defunti,” or the "draining" of cadavers, and the “schiattamuorto,” or gravedigger.
"'A livella" by Totò
Many in Naples believe that it was a fresco in the Catacombe di San Gaudioso known as La morte che trionfa su tutto (Death Triumphs Over All) that was the inspiration for the famous poem “'A livella”, by Prince Antonio De Curtis, known as Totò. This iconic Neapolitan actor, singer, and poet was born in Rione Sanità, not far from the Catacombe.
Visiting the Catacombe di San Gaudioso
It's easy to visit the Catacombe di San Gaudioso, as the site is open daily from 10AM to 1PM. The entrance is inside the Basilica Santa Maria della Sanità beneath the high altar.
Tickets cost EUR 9 and children under 6 enter free. Visitors between 6 and 18 years of age pay EUR 5 to enter; students and visitors over 65 pay EUR 6. On Sunday mornings, you can also join the “Miglio Sacro Tour” (Holy Mile Tour) that focuses on the life of San Gennaro and takes in a number of sites in the Rione Sanità district (tickets cost EUR 15/person; Italian only).
The Catacombe di San Gaudioso ticket is also valid for the nearby Catacombe di San Gennaro to complete your cemetery-themed tour.
We suggest comfortable shoes and a light sweater or jacket to visit the Catacombe di San Gaudioso, as temperatures below ground remain at a cool 15 degrees C even in summer.
Getting to the Catacombe di San Gaudioso
The Catacombe di San Gaudioso are located in the Rione Sanità district beneath the Basilica di Santa Maria della Sanità. You can reach the site by car, taxi, or public transportation.
Take the Tangenziale (beltline) to the Capodimonte exit (number 5) and turn right onto Via Capodimonte. There is free parking for visitors.
Take bus 168, 178, C63, or R4 from the historic center, getting on at the Museo Nazionale stop and off at the Basilica Incoronata - Catacombe San Gennaro stop (about 15 minutes by bus).
Dining Near the Catacombe di San Gaudioso
The Catacombe di San Gaudioso are in the Sanità neighborhood, which is thick with traditional trattorias, pizzerias, and pastry shops:
- Starita: classic Neapolitan pizzeria, known for its "angioletti fritti"!
- Da Concettina a Tre Santi: one of the most famous pizzerias in the city, with gourmet toppings and quality ingredients
- Cantina del Gallo: restaurant and pizzeria with more than 100 years of history
- Poppella: the pastry shop that invented the beloved "fiocchi di neve"