The subsoil of Naples is full of pleasant surprises. You can find almost anything among the tiny back streets, even an anonymous small iron entrance that conceals a true treasure of the history of this city: the tomb of the togati (those who wear togas).
I promised myself for years to have a look at this site, known to me only from hearing about it from Clemente Esposito and seeing the photos he had taken. The opportunity presented itself upon the occasion of the presentation of his most recent book Gli Ipogei Greci della Sanità [Greek Hypogea of the Sanità], an event that took place in the impressive basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità [in the Sanità section of Naples].
Among participants at the book presentation was Carlo Leggieri, president of the Celanapoli Association [lit. Hidden Naples], which, for a number of years, has been working at the restoration of this incredible archaeological jewel that the earth beneath Naples/Parthenope offers up to the attentive visitor.
The tomb dates back to between the end of the 4th century and beginning of the 3rd century BC. It has been known to the academic world only since 1980 when the earthquake of November 23 made safety checks necessary on the foundations of buildings in that area. They revealed the presence of these underground spaces. Since 1992 the Celanapoli Cultural Association, coordinating its efforts with the Special Superintendent for Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompei, has been promoting the restoration, appraisal and further disposition of this remarkable bit of subterranean heritage.
Obviously we advise you to visit this site. You will be taken with the competence and infected by the enthusiasm of those who will show you around. The site generates its own unique sensations. You have to feel them in person.
Details on how to book a visit are available on the website of the Associazione Celanapoli.
Technical details with information on finding the site.
Link to photos: Ipogeo dei Togati
Video: L'ipogeo dei Togati
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