Basilica of San Domenico Maggiore (Basilica di San Domenico Maggiore)
A visit to San Domenico Maggiore is often included in tours of Naples’ historic center, as it stands right in the heart of the city’s old town. You can join an in-depth tour of the whole of the monumental complex—skip-the-line entry of the church and Treasure Chamber, the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, the convent, and the crypt—or opt for a walking or Vespa tour of Naples’ highlights that includes a stop at San Domenico Maggiore, as well as the nearby churches of Gesù Nuovo and Santa Chiara. Foodies can choose a Naples food and sightseeing tour to explore the city’s famous street food along with its historic churches, and history enthusiasts can combine a visit to Naples with a tour of the nearby Roman ruins at Pompeii.
Overlooking a bustling square of the same name, San Domenico Maggiore was built between 1283 and 1324. It incorporates a smaller church, the Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo a Morfisa—you can see the remains inside—built at the same location in the 10th century, and has undergone many renovations over its long history. In 1670, it was reworked in a baroque style, though most of the church was restored to its original Gothic design in the 19th century.
Things to Know Before You Go
Modest attire is required to enter San Domenico Maggiore, so wear clothing covering shoulders and knees.
The complex is not accessible to wheelchairs and strollers due to stairs.
If joining a walking tour of the historic center of Naples, choose comfortable footwear and wear a hat and sunscreen.
There are a number of cafés in the square in front of the church where you can stop for a quick drink or snack.
How to Get There
San Domenico Maggiore is located on the square of the same name in the heart of Naples’ historic center. Due to the narrow alleys and tight corners of the old town, walking is the easiest mode of transport from the city’s ports and main Centrale train station. Naples is a major transportation and cruise ship hub, with direct trains from many Italian cities and ferries from Salerno and Sorrento.
When to Get There
Naples can be uncomfortably hot in summer, so visit the San Domenico Maggiore complex during the midday hours for a respite in the cool indoor church, convent, and crypt. The complex is open daily from 10am to 6pm.
The Sacred Relics Chamber at San Domenico Maggiore
One of the church’s highlights is the Sacred Relics Chamber, known as the Treasure Chamber. Built in 1690 to house the hearts and vestments of a number of the city’s Aragon kings along with Dominican relics, the chamber was closed to the public for centuries until being reopened in 2000. Today, visitors can tour the four sections of the Chamber—the Arches, the Processions, the Treasure, and the Sacred Ornaments—and admire the majolica floors by Donato and Giuseppe Massa, who also worked on the rococo majolica decorations in the nearby Santa Chiara cloister.
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