Chiesa Dl San Pietro Marti Re

MAP PP280-1

SS 081 552 68 55; Piazzetta Bonghi 1; £3 7am-1 pm & 5-7pm; 0 R2 to Corso Umberto I

Originally commissioned to help clean up the crime-packed port In the 13th centuiy, this Dominican church and monastery received an elegant cloister by Glovan Francesco dl Palma In the 16th centuiy. During the decade of French rule (1806-15) the monks were kicked out and the monasteiy became a tobacco factoiy. It remained so until 1978 when, after a major revamp, the professors of the faculty of Literature and Philosophy at UnIverslty of Napies moved Into their new, and current, home.

CHIESA Dl SANTA MARIA DEL CARMINE MAP PP280-1 SS 081 20 11 96; Piazza del Carmine; E3 6.30am-12.30pm Mon-Sat, 6.30am-2pm Sun; 0 152 to Via Nuova Marina

One of Naples' oldest churches, Santa Maria del Carmine plays a starling role In Neapolitan folklore. When Conrad (Couadlno) of Swabla was charged for attempting to depose the king In 1268, his mother Ellsabetta dl Bavlera desperately tried to collect the money to pay Charles I of Anjou a ransom for her son's life. But the money arrived too late and Conrad was beheaded for treason. Grief-stricken, she gave the money to the church, on the condition that the Carmelite brothers prayed for him every day. They agreed and the cashed-up brothers built the church you see today. There's a monument to Conrad In the transept.

However, It's the 13th-century Byzantine Icon behind the main altar, the Madonna della Bruna, that Is the star attraction here. Attributed with miraculous powers, the Madonna Is celebrated every year on 16 July when crowds flock here to see the 17th-century campanile lit up by fireworks. The city's tallest bell tower, Its onion-dome design Is the work of Glacomo dl Confortoand Giovanni Donzelll.

Further myth (and miracle) surrounds a wooden crucifix that hangs In a tabernacle under the church's main arch. According to legend, a cannonball fired at the church In 1439 during the war between Alfonso of Aragon and Robert of Anjou flew Into the church and headed straight for the crucifix. In the nick of time Jesus ducked and the cannonball sailed harmlessly past.

History rather than tradition records that It was from this church that Tommaso Anlello (Masanlello) harangued the mob Into rising against the Spanish rulers. Defeated and killed by the Spanish, he Is said to be burled In an unmarked tomb In the church.

At the southern end of the square, on the opposite side of busy Via Nuova Marina, stand remnants of the city's 14th-century medieval fortress, Castello del Carmine.

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