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Fabulous Festival in the Sanita’

We’ve written about the Sanità before because it is near and dear to our hearts. It’s a thriving market in the middle of street art and historical landmarks. It’s a place where people call you by name and it has an uncontaminated charm full of artists wanting to be off the radar, families, tourists and students. Naples is a very unique city in many respects as it is a city which welcomes people in the same way that a small town might do so. The Vergini, an area of the Sanità right off of Piazza Cavour is seems like a town within a city and since 2016 they’ve been hosting bi-annual street parties which the whole city (and tourists) love to go to. Although many neighborhoods in Naples have their own form of festivals, often connected to food, the parties at the Vergini is something a bit out of the ordinary. It feels like a sort of Homecoming party/Carnival where the normal shops host budding DJs, stages are set up where normally market stalls would be to host actors, dancers and singers


and food shops cook fresh fish and fried pizza outside of their doors for all the passersby. You might find yourself in the middle of a spontaneous street karaoke session or a dance party in front of a church or a wine bar.


On your way to the party, you cannot miss the famous Porta San Gennaro. Look up to the arch whose fresco by Mattia Preti represents the Immaculate Conception holding the baby and surrounded by angels. At the sides of the Madonna we see a kneeling St. Francis Xavier and St. Gennaro offering her his blood, a haggard woman on the steps in the lower section of the fresco symbolizes the plague and the two marble statues represent St. Gennaro and Michael. The artist  was charged with painting tributes to the Madonna on all the city gates after the plague epidemic in 1656 and this is the only fresco that has survived.

On the other side of the gate is a bust of St Gaetano and under the arch we see a shrine showing the Virgin, located here since 1887 to remind us of salvation from another epidemic (Asiatic disease) that shook Naples in 1884.

Originally located in proximity of via Settembrini, at the beginning of the 16th c, under the Vice-Kingdom of Don Pedro de Toledo, the city walls were enlarged and the gate was moved to is present location. The name remained the same as the gate gave access to both the catacombs of San Gennaro and the church of San Gennaro extra moenia (outside the city walls).

Porta San Gennaro and the permanent light installation dedicated to Totò the famous actor who was born in the Sanità district

Take in the art of this historic part of the city wall before getting your fill of food and music in The Vergini at today’s much-anticipated event of The Sanità Ta Ta featuring many artists such as Galera De Rua, Tartaglia Aneuro and Tommaso Primo.

If it’s late enough when  you finish celebrating, you can return to right below Porta San Gennaro to check out the all night stands along Via Foria who are open for the Epiphany tradition of candy-filled stockings that the children will find in the morning.


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