While the Vatican is certainly a popular visitor destination on Easter Sunday, Naples and the surrounding region also contains its own Easter pearls. With over two hundred Catholic churches – and that’s just within the city limits – a church tour offers innumerable delights.
Two churches, in particular, give Naples the reputation of being
“the city of miracles.” At Il Duomo (or main cathedral) the blood of the patron saint of the city, San Gennaro, liquefies twice a year. San Gregorio Armeno Church, located down Christmas Alley, houses the remains of the patron saintess of the city, Santa Patricia, whose blood liquefies every Tuesday after the nine o’clock mass.
Saint Paul’s legacy also marks the city. In the New Testament it says that, as a Roman citizen, Paul requested transfer to Rome to protest his punishment and imprisonment for professing the new Christian faith. He traveled by sea from the Holy Land and was briefly shipwrecked on Malta before arriving in Italy. The voyage is described in the Acts of the Apostles (28: 13-14), which says that after one day, a south wind sprang up and Paul reached Puteoli. There they found Christians who invited them to stay a week.
St. Paul is then said to have celebrated mass in a chapel on the site of the 13th century church of San Pietro ad Aram (Corso Umberto I 292). The church still exists and is very close to Piazza Garibaldi.
Another Easter wonder is Split Rock in Gaeta, located about an hour and a half drive from Naples. The Chapel of the Crucifix was erected on a huge mass of rock that hangs between two adjoining rock walls. The “split” between these rock walls is said to have occurred at the precise time that Jesus died on the cross. Subsequently, a doubter came to visit the rock and when touching the side of the split, his hand print became forever emblazoned on the wall. (Gaeta is also where you’ll find the tomb of Cicero.)