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Fontanelle Cemetery, Naples. Source: Massimo Santi / Adobe Stock.

Fontanelle Cemetery and Naples’s Cult of the Souls of Purgatory (Video)


The Naples's Cult of the Souls of Purgatory centers around a unique belief system related to the souls in purgatory. The Fontanelle Cemetery, a symbolic location for this cult, evokes an eerie atmosphere, reminiscent of a descent into the afterlife. Although the overt practice of the cult has diminished, it lingers discreetly in the city's historic center. Local residents recall the cemetery as a place of worship, where prayers were offered for the souls of the deceased. Even today, there is a sense of reverence towards the souls, and some still seek their intercession, believing they can provide assistance from purgatory. The faithful have formed a strong emotional attachment to the cemetery and its skulls, akin to adopting family members, displaying a sense of responsibility and connection.

The cult's appeal may stem from the belief that purgatory represents a middle ground between heaven and hell, mirroring life on earth. Visitors, too, leave thoughtful messages, hoping for grace and consolation from the souls of purgatory. Despite the decline of public practice, the cult continues to maintain its allure, bridging the gap between the spiritual and earthly realms, offering a means of comfort and support through prayer.

Top image: Fontanelle Cemetery, Naples. Source: Massimo Santi / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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