The San Pietro ad Aram Basilica is located in the Corso Umberto I, which is one of the main streets of Naples. The church’s main attraction is the Ara Petri, the altar at which Peter is said to have prayed when he stayed in the city. Pope Clement VII once granted the church the privilege of celebrating a Holy Year one year after it had taken place in Rome.
San Pietro ad Aram Basilica Naples
Address: Corso Umberto I, 292 – 80100 Naples. Telephone: +39 081268235. Nearest metro stop: Centrale. Opening hours: From 10am to 12pm and from 4pm to 6pm. Entrance fee: Graits.
History and description
The Basilica di San Pietro ad Aram was founded on the spot where Saint Peter was (mistakenly) thought to have converted the Saints Candida and Aspreno. Sant’Aspreno would later be appointed the first bishop of Naples.
In the 12th century, the church was enlarged and the monastery was added.
The church only got its current appearance when the Corso Umberto I was constructed. This led to the destruction of the adjacent monastery, while the church itself received a somewhat eclectic facelift.
The columns of the former cloister can now be seen in the hall of the Sant’Aspreno al Porto Church.
Because the church is so old, the architecture shows both Greek-Roman and Renaissance elements.
The church has a Greek cross floor plan and consists of a single nave with four side chapels decorated with ornamental plasterwork.
In the vestibule is the so-called St Peter’s Altar from the 12th century.
The “Mass of St Peter” is a 16th-century fresco showing one of the oldest city views of Naples.
On display are paintings by Luca Giordano, Andrea Vaccaro, Giacinto Diano and Massimo Stanzione, among others.
The bricked-up door in the church is the Holy Door, which was only to be opened during Jubilee years. This privilege was granted by Pope Clement VII in the 16th century, but taken away from the church in 1600.
Through the left nave, one can enter a crypt supported by eight columns. From here one can also visit the catacomb. These rooms were only discovered during restoration work in 1930.