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The Catacombs of Saint Gaudios are an early Christian underground cemetery located in the Sanita area, in the north of Naples. The catacombs were used until the 17th century.
The territory of the catacombs was located outside the medieval and ancient city, and therefore was used for burials. The Sanita area is located in the valley between the Capodimonte and Vomero hills. It is famous for its numerous natural grottoes and crevices, which served as the starting point for the creation of underground cemeteries.
The church of Santa Maria della Sanita was built above the catacombs. Currently, access to the catacombs is accessible from this basilica. Several forks can be observed immediately from the main entrance. In the walls of these corridors, there are horizontal niches intended for single burials. The graves of the most revered Christians are located in arcosoliums, which in turn are located in cubicles – separate rooms. The floors of cubicles were also used for burials. The walls of such rooms were decorated with frescoes and mosaics dated by the V – VI centuries.
In the 17th century, the Dominicans significantly expanded the catacombs and in the created underground spaces organized an outpatient clinic and cantarella designed to dry the bodies of the dead.
The tomb of Saint Gaudios is located in a separate cubicle. Initially, the body of the saint was buried in a richly decorated mosaic of arcosolium, later the body was moved to a separate sarcophagus, which was also used as an altar. At present, only fragments of the mosaic have survived.
The cube of St. Notian has been preserved much better to this day. Arcosolius was decorated with a mosaic depicting a shining cross. The ceiling of the cubicle is decorated with frescoes depicting Christ and the four evangelists, represented as a lion (Mark), an eagle (John the Theologian), a calf (Matthew) and an angel (Luke). In the 17th century, St. Catherine of Siena was depicted on the wall of the cubicle.
In the next cubicle there are two arcosoliums decorated with mosaics. The first depicts two doves drinking from a bowl, framed by a pattern of grape leaves. The second contains a mosaic depicting a stylized sarcophagus, on both sides of which are lambs, and above it – cross.
The relics of the holy martyr Sozios rest in the catacombs. Above the tomb, you can see a fresco containing a shining cross, figures of Sozios himself and the first martyr Stephen.
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Topic: Catacombs of San Gaudioso in Italy, Naples resort.