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Festivals & Events


The best known festival of Naples is the Festival of San Gennaro, the patron Saint of the city. Though little is known of the saint himself, the miracle of his blood is very well known.

The belief is that he protects the city from potential disasters. Every year, the faithful and the curious fill the Duomo (church of Naples). Fifteen elder women, called the “aunts of San Gennaro”, lead the prayers. The skull of the saint on a silver bust, which has been paraded with the statues of other saints down the Spaccanapoli, is brought forth and placed on the altar. Beside it is placed the vial containing the dried blood of San Gennaro.

Once the blood has reliquified, the bells of the church ring and the people surge forward to kiss or touch the relic. The 21 gun salute from the Castell Nuovo announces the liquefaction to those not within sight of the miracle. To date, no one has been able to prove that the liquefaction is anything but a true miracle and the city celebrates in September as well as on the first Sunday in May and on December 16.

If you enjoy music and are visiting Naples in July you’ll probably want to attend the annual Neapolis Festival at the Arena Flegrea. They’ve had this concert ongoing for the last nine years, with 2006 rounding off the decade. The performers are a mix of local and international bands including R.E.M. and the Cure.

Another annual festival in Naples is the Festa della Madonna del Carmine (Feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel). Celebrated on July 16 of every year, it is one of the most spectacular of the events in Naples. The night before the feast day of the Lady, they hold the incendio del Campanile which means the burning of the church tower. Rest assured though that the people aren’t truly setting fire to the church. It is just the illusion created by the pyrotechnics that have been put in place for the festival. The fireworks have been masterfully planned and set in place such that it seems as if the bell tower, which is the highest point in Naples, appears to be in flames. Masses are held every hour on the hour from seven in the morning to seven in the evening of July 16 so that all the faithful may approach and receive this great saint’s blessings.

The Christmas and new year celebration in Naples is a truly unique experience. Here, Christmas begins on December 17 and continues until the epiphany in January 6. Hundreds of presepi or nativity scenes can be found all over the city. A revival of the 17th and 18th century tradition of crèche making has created unforgettable masterpieces from the craft masters. The largest of these displays can be found at the Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanita in Piazza Sanita, Church of Saint Nicola alla Carita on Via Toledo. The best part is that admission is free.

As the sun sets on New Years Eve the people begin to gather at the piazza for Notte di Capodanno. It is like a street party with dancing, concerts and even fireworks. At this time there are no strangers, just a gathering of a community welcoming the start of a wonderful new year.


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Festivals & Events in Milan
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