The Sanità district is located in a valley used since the Greek-Roman era as a burial place. In this district have arisen hypogea Hellenistic and early Christian catacombs, such as those of San Gennaro and San Gaudioso, tightening a strong relationship between man and death that has lasted through the centuries, demonstrated by the cemetery of Fontanelle, used to house the victims of the great plague of 1656. Initially intended to accommodate important noble families and wealthy bourgeois of the city (evidence of this, the majestic Palazzo Sanfelice in Via Arena della Sanità and Palazzo dello Spagnolo ai Vergini)Over time, it has become one of the most popular areas of Naples.
Basilica of Santa Maria alla Sanità
The Basilica is the heart of the district and stands above the site of the catacombs of San Gaudioso. Built between 1602 and 1610, its distinctive feature is the dome with yellow and green majolica, known by the whole city because it is immediately visible across the bridge of Sanità. The plan of the church is a Greek cross, with the presbytery raised to incorporate the previous early Christian basilica, which leads to the catacomb. The Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità was born as a sign of devotion of the Neapolitan faithful to the Madonna, following the discovery of a fresco dating back to the 5th-6th century. It is the oldest depiction of the Madonna in Naples, which is now in one of the chapels of the Basilica. The Basilica is a true pictorial paradise, which preserves precious seventeenth-century works of art in its naves. Numerous works of the second half of the seventeenth century were made by Luca Giordano, such as the canvas depicting the Virgin with Saints Hyacinth, Rose and Saint Agnes and the one dedicated to Saint Vincent Ferrer dear to devotees. In 1677 Dionisio Lazzari made the marble pulpit, while the staircase was rebuilt in polychrome marble. The anti-sagrestia, frescoed by G.B. Di Pino, contains some votive offerings donated by the faithful to San Vincenzo il Monacone and leads to the elliptical cloister dominated by the so-called bridge of the Sanità.