Naples, Italy

Actors involved

social economy organisations, private companies, public entities, intermediaries, citizens

Thematic areas of SI

urban regeneration, education, welfare and work, cultural heritage and creative industries


Naples Catacombs is a project of urban regeneration and economic growth through the enhancement of the cultural heritage of Rione Sanità, a district in Naples, with the aim of promoting a social economy linked to tourism that brings employment and self-sustainability of the realities involved. Specifically, the initiative consists of the management of guided tours of the Catacombs of San Gaudioso inside the Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità, involving young people from the neighbourhood.
In 2006, a group of young people from the Rione Sanità in Naples and Father Antonio Loffredo founded the “Cooperativa Sociale La Paranza” to enhance the local cultural heritage and particularly the San Gaudioso Catacomb, in the Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità. In 2008 the cooperative was awarded a tender for 500,000 euros from Fondazione con il Sud to invest in the enhancement of an abandoned property. The cooperative chose the San Gennaro Catacombs. The financial resources were used to clean up, fix the electrical system, and form the guides, making it possible for visitors and residents to visit them. The enhancement of this property gave life to a virtuous process of enhancing the places, and of economic growth for the cooperative and the neighbourhood. In fact, today around twenty young people from the neighbourhood find work on a permanent basis in these activities. According to a study conducted by the University of Naples Federico II, visitors to the Catacombs have gone from 5,000 to 150,000 in 10 years, and, according to a survey, for over 60% of the visitors, the Catacombs represented one of the reasons to visit Naples. The success of this initiative stimulated new projects, connecting cultural heritage and tourism development, such as the renovation of Casa del Monacone and Casa Tolentino.