Going to Napoli on Halloween time? Looking for spooky spots which can creep you out during your trip to Italy? YOU ARE READING THE RIGHT POST, my dear crazy reader!
Napoli is not only about the Vesuvio, the sea, the best pizza and tens of foods which are a real attempt to your diet projects. They certainly play an important role in making this city one of the unmissable destinations, but Napoli has a lot more to offer. Think about something you’d like to visit somewhere in the world and this city will please you: it basically has anything you would be willing to visit, included a cave full of well-disposed bones and skulls.
Surprised? It actually is a real place of worship! And there is a specific reason why more than 40.000 bones are located in this cave and even a story about the creation of today’s Cimitero Delle Fontanelle, which can approximately be translated as ‘cemetery of small fountains’, referring to the presence of water sources in ancient times.
The story begins in the 17th century, when the plague hit the city of Napoli and thousands of corpses were left inside the cave. The same refrain occurred almost two centuries later, when another tragedy took place: an epidemy of cholera took away the life of other thousands of people and the cave revealed to be again the best solution to place their dead bodies.
The years passed and the inhabitants of Rione Sanità, the neighbourhood where the cemetery is located, gave birth to the cult of capuzzelle – a word in Neapolitan dialect referring to ‘tiny heads’. In a nutshell, they used to adopt a skull and take care of it in exchange for protection, by praying for its soul and by searching for an ideal location and placing the skull in the most comfortable spot of the cave.
Nowadays this peculiar worship is not common anymore, although the strong attachment local people feel towards this place is undeniable. They consider it as part of their culture and traditions, and they feel an incredible respect towards the irremediably anonymous people buried in the cave. Although I can’t describe it as a proper cult anymore, a pure feeling of fondness is still perceivable.
I must admit I didn’t know about the existence of this place until my boyfriend requested me to bring him there and a have a merry trip among bones and skulls. Even though I tried to maintain a stoic indifference to the sight of aligned human remains, the wuss behind the blowhard side I like to show off took over. Therefore I chose to remain at the entrance where sunlight could still reach and reflect on me, leaving my boyfriend to wander alone in the depth of the cave. I know I can’t fear dead people, I’m aware that no bone is ever going to hurt me, but I’m both very coward and the place was incredibly suggestive.
The Cimitero Delle Fontanelle has been opened to the public since 2010 and it now also contains an altar, a few benches to stop for a prayer and some statues related to Catholics iconography.
The entrance is free, so don’t trust any possible scammer who will try to take some money from you! In any case, check the website for any information before paying your visit to the cave and wander around thousands of skulls, vigilant to every footstep you take.
Where? RIONE SANITA’
How? Underground linea 1 Materdei / Underground linea 2 Cavour.
How much? FREE !
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know if you have ever visited Il Cimitero Delle Fontanelle or if you know another site which is as creepy yet sentimental as the Neapolitan cemetery! Otherwise, what is your suggestion for a destination on Halloween day?
If you are interested in knowing more about Napoli, check out the following blog posts!