The cities of San Gennaro are many. In fact, if we think that he is only the patron saint of Naples, we have done a huge mistake.
The Neapolitan city it was not the first city to venerate San Gennaro as patron saint and is not not even the place where Gennaro was born.

We find in fact the cult of the prodigy of the saint scattered in all the provinces of Campania. Let's find out its path


Despite being the city of San Gennaro par excellence, having been born right here and having been also bishop of Benevento, in reality it does not even figure among the patrons.

He was born in the former Samnite capital on April 21, 272. We know very little about his first years of life, but we know with certainty that it was bishop of the city when he was about 30 years old. Era an extremely charismatic man and much loved by the faithful, who followed him and admired him from aboveto immense calm and for words that are always attentive, just and full of hope.

After the death of San Gennaro there was a ferocious fight between the Duchy of Naples and the Duchy of Benevento for keep his bones in the city. There was also a sensational episode: some secret agents of the Duke Sicardo, in the ninth century, they managed to steal all the relics of San Gennaro from the Neapolitans, taking them to Benevento.
There was one very intense diplomatic struggle to put them back on the gulf, but only the vial of blood returned. The bones, however, remained in Benevento and were then transferred to Montevergine.


According to tradition, Pozzuoli represented the crucial moment in the life of San Gennaro: we are in fact in the period of persecutions against the Christians wanted by the emperor Diocletian.
In fact, during his sermons he met Sossio, the deacon of Misenus. The two became great friends, but the destiny was tragically separated: in fact they gave an appointment to Puteoli, at the time important city of Campania Felix, for a pastoral visit together with Desiderio, another very important representative of the Benevento church. During the trip however, the deacon of Miseno was arrested and, when Gennaro and the other preachers went to ask for it release from prison, were arrested in turn e sentenced to the death penalty inPuteoli amphitheater, devoured by wild beasts.

Here one of the most famous miracles took place, which is also portrayed in one of the most beautiful paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi: the lions, or the bears, in front of Gennaro's gaze they became docile as puppies. And they didn't touch anyone, in astonishment of all.

Thus it was that, in the first version of the story, Dragonzio, governor of Campania, ordered the beheading of San Gennaro and the other 7 Puteolan martyrs.

San Gennaro Artemisia Gentileschi
The martyrdom of San Gennaro, by Artemisia Gentileschi. Today we can admire it in the Rione Terra, Diocesan Museum.


In a second version of the story there are those who bind the ancient Hyria to one of the most tragic episodes of San Gennaro. Some sources believe that, when he came to town with some of his companions to preach the Christian religion, it was arrested by Judge Timothy and sentenced to immense torture. The executioners were shocked to see that no sword and spear hurt him. And then it was thought of throw it into a furnace.

San Gennaro Fornace
San Gennaro comes out of the furnace unharmed. Work of Josè Ribera


The complex of Early Christian basilicas of Cimitile, one of the most beautiful and rare in the world, also brings to this city an episode from the life of San Gennaro.
In fact, it is said that Timothy of Nola, still shocked by the miracle, decided to do close the bishop of Benevento in an oven. And instead he came out perfectly unscathed again indeed, not even his clothes had been burned by the flames.

So it was decided to behead him. And from his body he was collected the famous blood that melts every September 19th.

San Gennaro decapitato
San Gennaro beheaded, painting by Girolamo Pesce


There city of San Gennaro par excellence, in fact, at the time of the saint he still venerated the figure of Virgil, in a very strange and profane cult typical of the Neapolitan spirit.

There are many points in Naples where there are beliefs, stories and legends more or less truthful related to San Gennaro, but we know with a good dose of certainty that the good saint never got there alive: we know it was buried somewhere in the Agro Marciano, possibly corresponding to the current district of Fuorigrotta, or to the area of Agnano or Pianura. Likewise we know that, long after his death, his faithful wanted exhume his body to take it to a safer point, the current ones Catacombs of San Gennaro in Capodimonte, and passed through the Vomero, where tradition has it that it is blood dissolved for the first time and where still today there is a very strong cult with three churches and a procession dedicated to the saint.

In reality of the dissolution of blood it is never mentioned until 1389, when Robert of Anjou also had it built the reliquary which still today contains the saint's blood.

The places in Naples attributable to San Gennaro they are practically infinite: you go from Ponte della Maddalena, where the saint performed the miracle in 1521 stopping the lava of Vesuvius that was about to touch Naples, at chapels in Health which, for one reason or another, are dedicated to miracles of the patron saint in the city. We arrived at sign, in 1527, a contract between the Saint and Naples to ensure perpetual protection for the city.

There house of San Gennaro it is instead the Naples Cathedral that, despite what one might think, it is not named after him. There are indeed only the chapel and the hypogeum linked to his cult.

Contratto Napoli e San Gennar
lI contract between Naples and San Gennaro


Even the very famous abbey of Montevergine it is linked to San Gennaro. Right here they were in fact found the bones in 1490, after a disappearance that lasted centuries. It was William the Bad, king of Sicily, to order the transfer to the abbey in province of Avellino. The abbey was a much safer place and for this reason the monks had no intention of returning the bones of San Gennaro to Naples.
The problem was solved only thanks to the intervention of the Carafa family, who managed to break down the resistance of the monks with several hundred good reasons in gold coins.
From 1497 the bones have remained in the city.

San Gennaro Vesuviano
San Gennaro Vesuviano even has the saint in his coat of arms!

San Gennaro Vesuviano

There is even a municipality that takes its name. In this case, however, the history of the Vesuvian town is linked to presence of a church dedicated to the saint built after an eruption of Vesuvius, around the fifth century AD It is therefore a city that venerates the Saint Benevento even before Naples!

-Federico Quagliuolo

Città di San Gennaro mappa
Explore the map of the cities of San Gennaro on our map! Click on them to discover them all.

Paolo Regio, The Lives of the Seven Patron Saints of Naples, Naples, 1579
San Gennaro, bishop of Benevento and martyr - Information on the Saint of the day - Vatican News
The Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro (

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