"Santa Maria Restituta and the baptistry" Duomo - Cathedral Tip by leics
Duomo - Cathedral, Naples: 38 reviews and 142 photos
You access the basilica of Santa Maria Restituta via the Duomo itself. Although once a separate church, the two buildings are now one.
SM Restituta is the oldest structure in modern Naples, a church which was first erected under Emperor Constantine in the 3rd century (200s). As soon as you enter you can feel its age: the columns supporting the roof came from a Roman temple which stood on the same site.
It's a lovely place, its side-chapels decorated in styles over the centuries. One in particular (on the far left, as you look towards the altar) has the most beautiful mosaic apse, with golden touches which reminded me very much of the early Byzantine mosaic work I have seen in similarly old Christian structures.
But SM Restituta has more for you to uncover, for its 4th century (300s) baptistry has been restored and renovated. You'll have to pay a small fee (1.50 euro in 2011) to enter, but it is worth it to see the 5th century (400s) frescoes and the vast stone font which, it is thought, originally came from a temple to Dionysus. Look at it, cast your mind back almost 2000 years, see believers undergoing total immersion when they were accepted into the faith...
Like almost all of Naples' historical heart, the Duomo is built on top of the Graeco-Roman city. You can access these excavations from SM Restituta (a Roman street, an earlier church with mosaic floors) but, unfortunately, when I visited the excavations were closed. It was not clear whether this was an ongoing closure.
I was unclear about whether photography is actually allowed in SM Restituta, but noticed others taking photos without comment from staff.
Address: The Duomo, Via del Duomo
Directions: SM Restituta is accessed on the left as you enter the Duomo.
Duomo opening times are 9-12.30 and 4.30 - 6pm Monday to Saturday, 9-1pm Sunday.
Phone: 081 421609
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