Cimitero delle Fontanelle – Naples workshop, part 3


Cimitero delle Fontanelle is one of the most peculiar places I´ve been to. One of Simo Capecchi´s workshop sessions during the Urban Sketchers Naples Inventory workshop took place here, in this old tuff quarry-turned-graveyard. Skulls and bones are piled neatly along the walls in the many rooms of this place, and even though there is lighting and candles in some places, the overall impression is darkness and stillness.



These caves have been used as a graveyard during the plague in the 17th century and the cholera epidemic in the 19th century. Over time, a cult emerged, where local people started “adopting” skulls, giving them names, building little houses for them, and laying down little gifts on or around them. Eventually, the church banned this cult, and the little houses look age-old, but some of the gifts look curiously new…


Surprisingly enough, I didn´t find it especially scary or eerie to walk around here, but it is a bit mind-boggling to think that all of these skulls were actually once real, living people. It would be interesting to hear their stories.


All drawings: drawn on 21 x 15 cm Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook pages.

9 Responses to “Cimitero delle Fontanelle – Naples workshop, part 3”

  1. Zoe says:

    Fascinating. The first drawing with the jewelry seems so anti-Catholic, and so…Egyptian or Assyrian. This workshop seems extra-ordinary, and Naples, to some extent, reminds me of Sicily, and radically different than the North of Italy.

    Thanks so much for sharing this experience with us all with your wonderful sketches.

    • Thanks Zoe! I can´t really compare Naples to any other city I´ve been to, but I have heard too that it is very different from Northern Italy.

  2. Isa says:

    Tu as su rendre l’atmosphère intéressante et non macabre dans tes dessins. Bravo pour cette expérience … particulière ;)

  3. Susan says:

    These drawings are stunning. I have been looking at the view of the cave, in an attempt to study your perspective and shading but it is so well done, I can’t “untrick” my mind into seeing it as a two dimensional drawing. It is so incredibly 3 dimensional, I feel like I am in the cave itself. Thank you for your work and sharing so generously online.

  4. That’s it. Next time someone is organising something in Naples I’m coming too! D

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