San Carlo all’Arena Church Naples

The San Carlo all’Arena Church is located in the Via Foria in the center of Naples. The first version of this church was built in the 17th century. Its main attraction is a marble statue known as “Crucified Jesus.”

San Carlo all’Arena Church Naples

Address, opening hours and ticket price

San Carlo all'Arena Church Naples
San Carlo all’Arena Church

Address: Via Foria, 24 -80137 Napoli. Tel: +39 081 441482. Public transportation: Metro Cavour (line 2). Opening Hours: The church is open for Mass at 08:15 and 18:00. On Saturday only at 18.00 and on Sunday at 10.00 and 12.00. Admission is free.

History and Description

The Chiesa di San Carlo all’Arena was commissioned by the Order of the Cistercians. The designer of the project was Fra Nuvolo and the work lasted from 1626 to 1636.

Consecration did not take place until 1700. This was still a long time before construction was finally finished. Work on the facade continued until 1756.

The design of the church was inspired by the Roman Pantheon. The floor plan is elliptical. The church has six side chapels and seven altars. The dome is huge.

The name of the church has nothing to do with an arena. It is located at the foot of the Capidimonte and Miradois hills, from where dirt flowed down in front of the church. This dirt is called la rena in the local dialect. The Carlo to whom the church is dedicated is San Carlo Borromeo, a 16th century saint, who was very much involved in the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

The Via Foria, by the way, was not paved until the 17th century.


The Crucified Christ

The creator of the “Crucified Christ” is the sculptor Michelangelo Naccherino, who moved to Naples in the late 16th century. It was sculpted from a single block of marble.

Originally it stood, or rather lay, in the chapel of the Duke of Caselluccia in the Spirito Santo Church in the Via Toledo. Only later did it end up in the San Carlo all’Arena.

In 1923, during a fire in the church, the statue fell to the ground and suffered extensive damage. The repair work left “scars” on the statue, which, however, ensured an even more impressive dramatic effect. Despite everything, the face of the Cristo Crocifisso has an extremely serene expression.

San Carlo all’Arena Church, Naples