Decumano Maggiore - Via dei Tribunali
The attribute of "maggiore" (greater) indicates its importance inside of the ancient city organism, true thorn of the city, symbolized also from the presence of the ancient "foro" (San Gaetano square) where were the most important public buildings, among them,we have to remember "tempio dei Dioscuri", today incorporated in the "basilica di San Paolo Maggiore" . The "decumano maggiore" extends itselsf from the zone of "Piazza Bellini" up to "Castel Capuano" in the "De Nicola" square. Even here there are many religious buildings of enormous artistic-historical value; we can admire San Pietro a Majella (one of the most ancient school of music in Europe), the church and the "chiostro of San Paolo Maggiore, San Lorenzo Maggiore, the Palace of Filippo d' Angiò and other historical buildings. Also with a short look, in this "decumano" it is recognizable Naples with all its characteristic and characterizing elements, not just religious buildings, but also wet cloths spread in sunlight to dry between a palace to another. In this "decumano" is visible the successive historical-architectonic stratification: The "Cappella Pontano", for example, was built up in the late ‘400, therefore once again the "greek-roman Naples" is placed side by side to a "modern Naples". Here we can also find the main entrance of the complex "Napoli sotterranea" ,a city in the city, a city under the city.
Here some of the admirable wonders of this "DECUMANO":
SAN PIETRO A MAJELLA
Founded in the beginnings of XIV century for will of Pipino da Barletta, it was dedicated to Peter da Morrone, the friar elevated to the papacy with the name of Celestino V. Restructured from the beginnings of the XV century. The inside, with three naves and side aisles, has wooden ceiling on which there are paintings by Mattia Preti with episodes of the life of Celestino V (sec. XVII). In the apse zone we can admire the splendid stalls of the chorus and frescos of the XIV and XVII centuries. In the "presbiterio" there is the greater altar of Pietro and Bartolomeo Ghetti and the balustrade of Cosimo Fanzago (sec. XVII). The structure, after baroque integrations, has been brought back to the original gothic linearity during the beginning of this century.
CROCE DI LUCCA
Founded in the beginnings of the XVII century, it is survived to the demolition of the monumental complex of the Carmelitane, to which it was annexed, happened in the beginning of this century for the building of the university clinics. The inside with only one nave and side aisles, on the ceiling there is a painting rapresenting the "Madonna del Carmine e Santi"(sec. XVII).Wonderful marble decorations of the second half of XVII century adorn the nave and the tribune.
It was built up by Giovanni Pontano in the 1492 for the cult and memory of his wife Adriana Sassone. The structure, of classic inspiration of rectangular shape, stands on a high base. Outside there are two marble portals, both dominated by inscriptions with coat of arms of the Family and small windows. In the rear part of the altar there is a fresco representing the Madonna with Giovanni Battista and Giovanni Evangelista (XV century).The tile paving of the end of XV centuryis wonderful, representing the coats of arms of the Pontano and his wife.
SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE (PIETRASANTA)
Built up in the first half VI century in the most ancient area of the city, it was the first basilica dedicated to the "Vergine". In the half of XVII century it was rebuilt up with central plant by Cosimo Fanzago. The presence of an ancient holy stone with a recorded cross on it, has given birth to the most common denomination of the Church (Pietrasanta "holystone").The inside conserves a wonderful majolica paving of the XVIII century. In the cripta there are testimonies of the "paleocristiana basilica" and rests of a mosaic of roman age. In the entrance hall we can admire the medieval bell tower, XI century, of the original Church. To sides of the facade there is the "Cappella del Salvatore", renewed in the second half of the XVIII century with marble altar and majolica paving.
PURGATORIO AD ARCO
Annexed to the Congregation of the same name, founded in XVII century for the tribute celebrations for the spirits of the "Purgatorio", there is only one nave with side aisles. In the apse zone, rich decorated with marbles, a sculpture of winged skull by Cosimo Fanzago, evidence, united to analogous artistic testimonies placed outside of the structure, the topic of the "death" deeply felt in the Neapolitan popular tradition. Paintings by Massimo Stanzione, Andrea Vaccaro and Luca Giordano adorn respective the greater altar the third side aisle to the right and to the left of the nave. In the hypogeum there is the ancient place of interment.
SAN PAOLO MAGGIORE
It was constructed in VIII century in the area of the "foro" of the greco-roman city on the ruins of the temple of the "Dioscuri". From the XVI century the "paleocristiana" church was remarkablly restructured by the work of the architects Francisco Grimaldi and G.B. Cavagna. The inside, Latin cross with three is naves and side aisles. On the dome vault we can admire some frescos by Massimo Stanzione, representing the life of the apostles Peter and Paul. Wonderful frescoes by Solimena in the sagrestia, with scenes of the "Conversione di San Paolo", "La caduta di Simon Mago" and the "Virtù". In 1671, by plan of Dionisio Lazzari, the prospect of the Basilica, that encloses two of the original columns of "corinzio" order, was widened.
SAN GREGORIO ARMENO (church and chiostro)
Built up in VIII century to accommodate the "basiliane" nuns, escaped from the East with the relics of Saint Gregorio, became later on Benedictine monastery. The church, completely rebuilt up in the second half of the XV century, has only one nave with five side aisles richly decorated with putties gilds and marbles of the XVII century. On the ceiling there are the tables by Teodoro d' Errico. The frescoes of the XVII century by Luca Giordano with the history of San Gregorio Armeno and San Benedetto. The greater marble altar is by Dionisio Lazzari. A wide stairway decorated with frescoes by Giacomo Po, leads to the convent to whose the "ruote" are still conserved that represent the only contact of the nuns with the outside world.
SANTA MARIA DELLA PACE
The church and the annexed hospital are placed on Via dei Tribunali before that this outlets in front of the "Castel Capuano" and after "piazzetta Sedil Capuano". The complex rose next and on a palace erected in the beginnig of the '400 by Sir Giovanni Caracciolo, on design by Andrea Ciccione. The church, constructed by plan of Pietro de Marino (1629), was called Santa Maria della Pace (Saint Mary of the Peace), because was finished in 1659, year in which was signed the peace between Filippo IV of Spain and Luigi XIV of France. The church with Latin cross shape, with only one nave and side aisles. It was restored in 1739, after earthquake of 1732; the participations testify the work of Domenico Vaccaro (furnish), of Nicholas Tagliacozzo (apse) and of Donato Massa (majolica paving).