Fulvio July 31, 2011 Translation by Larry Ray
It's now official: The mysterious underground "Fontanelle Cemetery" reopened for public visitation on August 1st.
The historic and truly bizarre ossuary has closed and reopened dozens of times over the years as repairs and restoration have been undertaken.
Napoliunderground.org has published many stories and updates on the Fontanelle Cemetery, and if you are visiting Naples, this is truly a one of a kind destination.
Over the centuries plagues and disasters have killed thousands upon thousands of Neapolitans and the victim's bones have been placed into intricate displays of stacked skulls and bones in chambers of this huge underground ossuary. The displays can reach twenty or more feet up the sides of the vaulting ceilings excavated from the yellow tuff sandstone creating an interconnected series of gigantic cathedral-like chambers.
A dedicated cult of deeply religious and caring individuals "adopted" individual skulls of the unknown and through rites and prayers sought to provide the departed souls comfort and perhaps a quickened arrival in heaven. Up into the mid 1950's a special trolley line ran out to the Fontanelle Cemetery so the faithful could more easily and regularly tend to their adopted departed. Many in the cult built small "homes" for the skulls, boxes with open or glass pane fronts, some of which are quite ornate and may be seen today.
If you have the opportunity, we strongly urge you not to miss the opportunity to visit what is certainly one of the most the most unusual underground structures in Naples. You can take a quick photo tour by clicking on the NUg photo gallery link below. Links to various videos taken inside the Fontanelle are also below.
New visitation hours to the Fontanelle Cemetery from the Department of Culture and Tourism of the City of Naples:
Open weekdays, from 10:00 to 16:00 and 10:00 to 13:00 on Sunday - Closed Wednesdays.
Il cimitero delle Fontanelle 1
Il cimitero delle Fontanelle 2
Il cimitero delle Fontanelle 3
Il cimitero delle Fontanelle 4