62 Route 4. NAPLES. Cappella del Tesoro.
del Tesoro (may be visited at leisure towards 12, the hour for
closing the church). It was commenced in 1608 in consequence
of a vow made during the plague of 1527, and completed in 29
years at a cost of 1,000,000 ducats. The white marble front,
with two large greenish columns, bears the inscription: "Divo
Januario e fame bello peste ac Vesevi igne miri ope sanguinis
erepta Neapolis civi patrono vindici."
It forms a Greek cross, richly decorated with gold and marble, contains
8 altars, 42 columns of broccatello, magnificent doors, 5 oil-paintings on
copper by Domenichino, and several frescoes of scenes from the life of S.
Gennaro. The first four representations, however, alone (tomb of the saint;
his martyrdom; resuscitation of a youth; sick persons healed by oil from a
lamp which had hung before the tomb of the saint) are entirely by Dome¬
nichino, who along with Guido Rent and Lanfranco, intimidated by the threats
of their jealous Neapolitan rivals Spagnoletto and Corenzio, abandoned the
task of painting the dome. — The Sacristy of the Tesoro contains pictures
by Sianziojn and Luca Giordano; a costly collection of ecclesiastical vest¬
ments and sacred vessels; the silver bust of S. Januarius, executed for
Charles II. in 1306; 45 other busts in silver of the patron saints of the city,
and other valuable relics.— In the tabernacle of the high-altar, which is
adorned with a carefully7 covered relief in silver representing the arrival of
the saint's remains, are preserved two vessels containing the blood of St.
Januarius (S. Gennaro), bishop of Benevento, who according to tradition
was exposed to lions in the amphitheatre of Pozzuoli by order of Diocletian
in 305. These animals however crouched submissively at his feet. Dracon-
tius, proconsul of Campania, or his substitute Timotheus, then caused the
holy man to be beheaded, and his remains were interred at Pozzuoli. "Under
Constantine the bishop St. Severus caused the body to be conveyed to Naples
and re-interred in the church of St. Januarius extra Moenia. Shortly after
this a woman brought him two phials containing a quantity of the saint's
blood, which immediately became liquid as he received it. In 817 the
remains of St. Januarius were conveyed to Benevento, thence in 1159 to
Monte Vergine, and finally at the time of a pla;;ue in 1497 solemnly trans¬
ported to Naples by the archbishop, Cardinal Alessandro Carafa and depo¬
sited in the cathedral.
The Liquefaction of the saint's blood is the greatest festival of Naples
and takes place three times annually during several successive days (1st
Sunday in May, Sept. 19th and Dec. 16th)- The protection of the saint is
invoked during seasons of war or distress, and especially during eruptions
of Mt. Vesuvius. A number of old women, the reputed descendants of S.
Gennaro, occupy the place of honour on these occasions. Delay on the part
of the saint to work his miracle occasions profound disappointment to the
eagerly expectant throng, and calls forth a torrent not. only of prayers and
lamentations, but also of the wildest threats and reproaches, to which the
saint invariably yields.
Contiguous to the cathedral, and facing the Largo Donna-
regina and the Str. Angelica, is the extensive Archiepiscopal
Palace, erected in the 13th cent. , entirely restored by Cardinal
Filomarino in 1647. In the great hall is preserved an ancient
Neapolitan almanac, found in the 18th cent, in the walls of S.
Farther on in the Str. Anticaglia are the remains of an an¬
cient Theatre, once apparently of considerable extent, of which
two arches still exist.