Ah, Napoli, Napoli… how many secrets can you possibly hide, Carolina would always wonder, whenever she was walking around the historical centre. There was something magical about Napoli, and that day, a grim winter Sunday, she was going to find out a bit more about it.
Carolina had always been fascinated with death; not that she would ever understand why people die. She’d lost some important people in her life, but to her, still, death was a totally unnecessary, horrible, horrible thing. “Why had they gone and died on me?” was something she had asked herself too many times. Yet, death fascinated her. So, one day, while reading the guide book she had brought with her, the strange story of a church in via dei Tribunali caught her eyes. It had a name that was a mouthful, but she loved saying it, attempting an Italian accent: Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco. A church she would always walk past, the one which had two big bronze skulls and bones on pillars at the front.
When Carolina walked past this church for the first time and read the tourist sign at the front, she had goose bumps. According to the sign, the church had been built on two levels, to represent the two worlds: the first level represented the earthly and spiritual dimension; the lower level, a cold and spooky concrete crypt, represented the purgatory. According to the story, the church had been built and used clandestinely by Catholic believers who would “adopt” a skull to take care of, and with their prayers help the dead get their souls free from the fire of Purgatory and ascend Heaven.
It was the “church of Lucia”, the daughter of a prince and a virgin bride-to-be who according to one of the legends, had died while her wedding was being prepared, because she didn’t love her groom. That was the only thing Carolina knew about it. That and the fact that her skull was in the crypt, sitting on a pillow, covered with a veil and a crown(…) Read more…