The Catacombs of Saint Gennaro awarded as the best experience in the world
The world leader online booking platform Tiqets launched a competition to identify the most successful artistic and cultural sites in seven selected countries. Through the feedback of its users, the portal awarded the exceptional experiences in the Remarkable Venue Awards.
Born in 2017 to give recognition to the most visited and appreciated attractions, the Remarkable Venue Awards 2020 have indicated seven categories in the contest, which are the following:
Most Remarkable Venue
Best Onsite Experience
Most Innovative Venue
Best Hidden Gem
The countries involved in the competition of the abovementioned prize categories were the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. All of them battled it out for each group.
On last January 25th Italy was awarded as the best Onsite Experience with the Catacombs of Saint Gennaro.
What is more, this year the winning sites of each country in the competition were for the first time called to compete in a global final (Global Winners) to win the world title in its category.
So, through the remarkable amount of positive reviews left on the portal, visitors gave the Neapolitan site the deserved title of the Best Experience in the world in their category.
Indeed, what gives great pride to the Neapolitan triumph is the election of the people.
The award is an honourable credit for one of the Italian artistic and cultural heritage excellences. Likewise, it has been a source of pride for the project that the La Paranza Cooperative carries out with sacrifice and dedication. Vincenzo Porzio from the mentioned Cooperative said that receiving this award represented a double satisfaction. Given the complicated historical situation, the award throws a ray of hope despite the current uncertainty about both the present and future.
As we learn from the official website, the Cooperative was born in 2006 in one of the most complicated Neapolitan districts, divided between noticeable socio-cultural discrepancies and the long-overshadowed great resources potentials. Since then, the Cooperative has committed to change things and give a hopeful future to the youngest so that the District of Sanità can be reborn.
The project of the Cooperative has brought back to light the Catacombs as we know them today. Many institutional supporters and private sponsor recognized the importance of the project and decided to contribute to the site survival. Among them, the Naples International Airport and the FAI.
The Facebook Post shared by the Catacombs demonstrates how much this award counts to the archaeological site as a Neapolitan capital flagship. The recognition of having created an interconnection relationship between people and places – as written - is the real goal achieved:
This award proves that the Catacombs of San Gennaro have established a deep bond with the city of Naples, and especially with the District of Sanità. What we do during the daily guided tours is enhancing the link between places and people. Because we believe that this is the best way to offer our guests an experience of discovery full of emotions, values and meaningful connection.
The Catacombs of Saint Gennaro are an underground archaeological site dating back to the 2nd and 3rd century located in the historic District of Sanità. The history of Naples takes place in a double location, above and below its foundations. Through this place of archaeological interest, the underground Naples reveals a story made of ancient rituals, in which the deceased ones are part of daily life almost as much as the living. Besides, by being a former repository of the beloved patron San Gennaro remains, the site creates a historical route between the pagan and the Christian.
Halfway between the mystic and the religious, the Catacombs develop on two levels. The first - Lower Catacomb - is probably the tomb of a noble family, then expanded following the deposition of the first patron of Naples remains, Saint Agrippino. With an imposing nave dug into the tuff, the first level still preserves an altar, which in the past attracted pilgrims to see the tomb of the saint, and where Masses are still today celebrated.
The expansion of the second level, or Upper Catacomb, begins in the 5th century with the transfer of Saint Gennaro's relics. This event made it a site for pilgrimages as long as a coveted place for burial. Today, the remains are in the Duomo of Naples. They have been guarded in several locations over the Region of Campania before.
Along with the stunning architectural structures, the site also preserves a rich pictorial heritage, ranging from pagan depictions to Byzantine paintings. Moreover, it is the guardian of the first Christian paintings of southern Italy. Last but not least, the Catacombs also include two basilicas, complete with a baptismal font.
In summary, the Catacombs of Saint Gennaro represent a full-fledged immersion in history, which brings visitors down in the city bowels where everything becomes more striking and offers them an experience that - now can be said loudly - is unique in the world.
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