San Domenico Maggiore ☆☆☆

The main facade, San Domenico Maggiore, Naples, Italy (Photo by Palickap)
The main facade

Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque art masterpieces in a Neapolitan church

This massive Gothic edifice was erected from 1289–1324, and rebuilt in the Renaissance and early baroque eras (when it received its prime attractions inside).

You enter the church from under the apse end, where you'll see the body of the church was overhauled in Neogothic style in the 1850s.

Walk down the left aisle (which is on your right, since you're coming in from the wrong end) to the end, where the last chapel houses a Crowning of St. Joseph by Luca Giordano. Now turn around to attack the church from the proper direction.

The first chapel on the right, on the entance wall, is the Capella San Martino, a Renaissance masterpiece of design and sculpture by Tuscans Antonio and Romolo da Settignano.

The second nave chapel on the right, the Cappella Brancaccio, is now known as the Cappella degli affreschi—the "Chapel of Frescoes"—for its spectacular cycle of 1309 frescoes by Roman master Pietro Cavallini (a contemporary of Giotto), brought to light during restoration work in the 1950s.

The seventh chapel on the right is the Cappellone del Crocifisso, with some Renaissance tombs and a copy of the 12th-century Crucifixion painting that spoke to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Next door, the theatrical Sacristy has a bright ceiling fresco by Francesco Solimena (1706) and small caskets containing the ashes of Aragonese rulers and important courtiers lining a high shelf.

What acts like a right transept was actually a preexisting church grafted onto this one, the Chiesa Antica di Sant'Angelo a Morfisa, today an oversize chapel containing lots of finely carved Renaissance tombs.

On Piazza San Domenico Maggiore is another of Naples' baroque spires, this one a 1737 confection called the guglia di San Domenico by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.

Photo gallery
  • The main facade, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Palickap)
  • The courtyard facade, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Lalupa)
  • The nave, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Miguel Hermoso Cuesta)
  • The nave, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by ho visto nina volare)
  • Cappella di San Martino, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Pinotto992)
  • The Cappella degli affreschi, or Cappella Brancaccio, with Pietro Cavallini
  • Frescoes (1306–08) by Pietro Cavallini in the Cappella degli affreschi, or Cappella Brancaccio, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Sailko)
  • Crucifixion (1306–08) by Pietro Cavallini in the Cappella degli affreschi, or Cappella Brancaccio, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo Public Domain)
  • The Cappellone del Crocefisso, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Giuseppe Guida)
  • The Sacrestia di San Domenico Maggiore, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by Giuseppe Guida)
  • The ceiling fresco by Francesco Solimena (1706) in the Sacrestia di San Domenico Maggiore, San Domenico Maggiore, Italy (Photo by BjoernEisbaer)
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Free or reduced admission with a sightseeing card

Get into San Domenico Maggiore for free (and skip the line at the ticket booth) with:

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How long does San Domenico Maggiore take?

The church takes about 20 minutes to see.

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah

* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).