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Church of Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco

In the heart of the ancient center of Naples Italy, along Tribunali Street, is the church of Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco. Crossing the threshold begins a real journey into Neapolitan culture between art, faith, life and death. From the small and beautiful 17th century church, which houses the precious marbles and the winged skull of Dionisio Lazzari, together with masterpieces by Massimo Stanzione, Luca Giordano and Andrea Vaccaro, one descends into the ancient and grandiose hypogeum which still houses the fascinating cult aimed at anonymous human remains who become special intermediaries for invocations, prayers, requests for intercessions.

A small museum set up in the spaces of the elegant sacristy completes the itinerary. The Church of Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco is one of the strangest places in the city. Although in Naples Italy there is no lack of macabre places such as the Fontanelle Cemetery or the Catacombs of San Gaudioso or even other highly mysterious churches such as the Chapel of Sansevero, none can compare to this. In Naples Italy the ancient cult of the souls in Purgatory had been widely supported by the Catholic Church which identified it as a way to collect offerings and donations, so much so that it had become the obligation of every good believer to worry about leaving a will indicating the frequency of masses and prayers in suffrage of the deceased.

The living, as a means of atoning for earthly sins, were concerned with favoring the ascent of souls to Paradise and ensuring them refreshment from the flames of Purgatory during the period of tribulation. Anonymous souls become objects of worship, those abandoned and nameless, those whose bodies, which had not benefited from the mourning rites, were buried in mass graves. The relationship is established through the adoption of a skull, which according to tradition is the seat of the soul, which is chosen, cared for, cared for and housed in special niches. The pezzentella soul (from the Latin petere: ask to obtain), an anonymous or abandoned soul, invokes the refrisco, the alleviation of punishment, and the one who has adopted it, the living person, asks her for grace and assistance. If you are planning your holiday to visit Naples Italy, visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco is one of the things to do.




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