The church of San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the attractions to visit in Naples.
Besides let you admire its different architectural styles, the church is one of the gates to the undergrounds of the city.
San Lorenzo Maggiore church
The history of the church San Lorenzo Maggiore says a lot about the history of Naples. It is the first Christian church. It is consecrated to San Lorenzo. It was built in the 6th century on an ancient Greek agora.
In the 13th century, the Anjou family wanted the apse, the nave, and the transept to be converted to a Gothic style and thus recovered many elements of antiquity. After earthquakes and natural catastrophes, the church was revisited in Baroque style.
In the 18th century, Ferdinando Sanfelice, the famous architect of the time, modified the counter-facade in Baroque style, preserving the Gothic portal. the plan of the church of San Lorenzo suggests that it is possible to visit both some baroque chapels (orange) and the French-Gothic ambulatory (turquoise).
In his Decameron, Boccaccio narrates that in this church he used to meet Marie d ‘Aquino, daughter of Roberto d’ Anjou, whom he loved.
Access to the subsoil
The church of San Lorenzo Maggiore in Naples is one of the gates to the underground, known as Napoli sotterranea (i.e. Naples subsoil). It is the perfect location to admire the architectural evolution of the city. Archeology has brought to light ancient streets and buildings in many different areas of Napoli.
The undergrounds of Naples are not just catacombs. There are many different long underground paths through which you can explore the ancient city. Going 40 meters underground you can visit the remains of the city of 2400 years ago.
The path is very informative and engaging but it is strongly not recommended for claustrophobics.