San Paolo Maggiore

Pagan pillars flank the pillars of the Church.

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There’s a lot to love about this Baroque church, even if you never step inside.

Two ancient columns rise from the church’s porch and brace themselves against its facade. They’re all that remain of a pagan temple, that of the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux who were two of the founding gods of the Greek city of Neapolis; the statues of Peter and Paul sit in niches set on either side. The porch sits atop a monumental double staircase. Those who make the ascent will be rewarded with a birds-eye view of Piazza San Gaetano.

The nearby statue (and the name of the piazza) honors San Gaetano, a patron saint of Naples and the founder of the Religious order the Congregation of the Clerks Regular of the Divine Providence, the Theatines. San Gaetano died in Naples and his remains were interred here in a crypt that is tucked below the entry porch in a small, but stunning chapel.

The church upstairs is Baroque beautiful, but the bombings during WWII laid waste to much of its artworks. Fortunately, a few Francesco Solimena frescoes in the sacristy survived.

At A Glance

Piazza San Gaetano, 76
39 081 454048

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