Complex of San Lorenzo: the Basilica and the Neapolis Sotterrata

Piazza San Gaetano, 316, 80138, Napoli
From: €11.00







Church or Place of Worship

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Pets allowed

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Suitable for children

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Supports in English or French

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Parking available

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About this activity

The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the most interesting monumental basilicas of Naples. It is located in the Old City Center, at the end of San Gregorio Armeno, where Piazza San Gaetano begins. From number 316 of the square you can also access the route of La Neapolis Sotterrata to visit the Roman market under the complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is a must for those who want to travel back in time and is rightfully part of the underground itineraries of Naples.

Why visit the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

Adjacent to the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is the convent that has hosted thousands of believers. Among them stand out two names of artists who have marked in their own way the millennial history of Italian literature, namely Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch.

Boccaccio was in Naples in 1334 when, after seeing her at the Holy Saturday mass held in the church, he fell in love with his muse Fiammetta. It is thought to be Maria d’Aquino, daughter of King Robert of Anjou.

Petrarch, on the other hand, was hosted in the church in the year 1343 and found himself witnessing a tremendous tidal wave that hit the city of Naples. He described this natural calamity in a letter to his friend Giovanni Colonna contained in the Familiarium rerum liber.

In this church it was possible to witness several pieces of history that make up the great Neapolitan fresco: in particular, St. Ludwig of Toulouse, son of Charles II of Anjou and renouncer of the throne in favor of his brother Robert of Anjou, was consecrated priest in this basilica wanted by Charles I of Anjou. Inside the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore was consecrated the future Pope Sixtus V, born Felice Peretti.

History of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

The construction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore was requested in 1235 by Pope Gregory IX, pontiff of the Catholic Church between 1227 and 1241. Gregory IX ratified the intention of wanting to build a church dedicated to San Lorenzo and as a place was chosen where there was already an early Christian church dedicated to the saint, expanded according to the canons of the time.

The real works began well after the departure of Pope Gregory IX, in 1270, thanks to Charles I of Anjou. The sovereign in fact decided to subsidize with conspicuous donations the realization of the church, which resulted in the end a mixture of different styles, ranging between the French Gothic style and the more austere Franciscan one.

The French architects took care of the apse, considered the only example of French Gothic in Italy. Going beyond the apse, instead, it is possible to see the Italian Gothic style, witnessing the change of designers and workers who followed one another during the years during the construction of the temple. The temple has been remodeled numerous times over the centuries, due to numerous earthquakes that hit the area.

We can note the Baroque style introduced from the sixteenth century, with the addition of columns decorated with stucco, various resizing of windows and Gothic arches and the whitewashing of frescoes.

The restorations from 1882 to the whole of the 20th century restored the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore to its original splendour, except for the façade and the counter-façade, by Ferdinando Sanfelice and the Chapel of Saint Anthony and the Cacace Chapel, by Cosimo Fanzago.

The basilica currently has a Latin cross plan and numerous side chapels along the length of the nave. Numerous are the works of art contained inside, among which the Adoration of the Magi by Marco Dal Pino, the sepulchral monument of Ludovico Aldomorisco, counsellor of King Ladislao of Durazzo and a 1438 table by Leonardo da Besozzo representing Saint Anthony and angels.

The Neapolis Sotterrata

Neapolis Sotterrata is one of the most interesting complexes in the historical center of Naples. It descends to a depth of ten meters under the Monumental Complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore. Here you can admire part of the macellum, a Roman market of the first century AD, a rectangular porticoed space with stores and mosaic floors.

Going down to the lower levels you can immerse yourself even more in the complex structure of the city by crossing the route of an ancient road that, spread over three wings, supported the market above and defined the lower portion of the Forum. The Forum had nine stores for commercial and artisan activities, each with two barrel-vaulted rooms open to the street and at the end of the street one arrived at the cryptoportico, the covered market.

The structure remained so until the thirteenth, when the construction of the convent and the basilica hid it in the bowels of the city, transforming it into the Neapolis Sotterrata that we can visit today.

Important things to know

Tickets and Discounts

  • The price of the visit to the monumental complex of San Lorenzo (including the Neapolis Sotterrata) is 9
  • The visit to the Basilica of San Lorenzo is free
  • The price is 7,€ for Artecard, teachers, university students and Over 65s
  • The price is 6 € for under 18
  • The entrance is free for under 6
  • The price is 4€ per person for school groups
  • Admission is free for people with motor disabilities
  • The price is 7€ for people with other disabilities

About the Complex

  • The Monumental Complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore is open from 9:30 to 17:30 every day
  • On weekends there are guided tours (not bookable) at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 4:30 pm or 6:30 pm
  • You can enter at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 noon, 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., or 5:30 p.m
  • Tours in English take place at 12:15pm or 4pm
  • Entrance to the Basilica is not part of the paid entrance to the Complex as it is free of charge


  • You can use the video guides free of charge (video guide in 4 languages downloadable in the cloister with QR code in Spanish, English, Italian and French)
  • You can visit the Basilica for free
  • Entrance to the Complex and the Neapolis Sotterrata can be done in complete autonomy
  • Video guide in 4 languages downloadable in the cloister with QR code (Spanish, English, Italian and French)


  • Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance
  • A guide is not included in the price of admission to the Complex. A guide can be requested at the time of availability (with a personal offer)

Tips for the visit

Getting to the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

  • To reach the Monumental Complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore, follow the directions or let yourself be helped by the 'Get Directions' button.
  • Reaching the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore by public transport
  • The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore can be easily reached by the subway. When you arrive at the Napoli Centrale train station, just reach the interchange with the Piazza Garibaldi subway station, the terminus of metro line 1. Take the subway in the direction of Piscinola and get off at Dante. From here proceed on foot for about 10 minutes.
  • Reaching the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore by car
  • The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is located in the historic center of Naples, so it is not possible to reach it directly by car.n

Activity's Location

Piazza San Gaetano, 316, 80138, Napoli
From: €11.00

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