Neapolitans seem to have a thing for uninterred body parts. At the Duomo, for example, the bones of patron saint San Gennaro clutter inside a pot. At the Church of the Souls of Purgatory, mythical Lucia’s bones are scattered in a niche alongside handwritten letters. And then, il Cimitero delle Fontanelle contains thousands upon thousands of cleaned and ordered skulls. So when body parts go missing in Naples, rumors and lamentations arise.
This is exactly what happened at San Domenico Maggiore, the original seat of the University of Naples. St. Thomas Aquinas taught here for a time, and true to form, rumors say his arm bone resides somewhere inside the monastery. In the sacristy of the church, forty-two coffins line an upper balcony, containing the embalmed remains of many Argonese kings. But it’s the Treasure Room that is shrouded in mystery.
The hearts of two kings once resided inside a now locked door of the sacristy. However, the hearts vanished upon the departure of the French who briefly occupied the Kingdom of Naples in the 19th century. So lamentable are the disappearances that a plaque near the door still commemorates the loss!