This hypogeal space is known as Abbots’ Crypt due to the original nature of the building, an Olivetan monastery. The Abbots, the most prominent members of the Order, utilized this space, located underneath the main altar, to house their mortal remains.
The Abbots’ Crypt presents itself as an elliptic space, made elegant by the grand Imperial staircase, decorated with well preserved frescoes depicting trees from a sacred forest, with the Calvary scene right in the middle as an undying memento to the Passion of Christ. But the presence, inside the space, of a long series of ‘’scolatoi’’ (draining holes) clarifies its main function: that of being a place of atonement and burial of the deceased through the practice of ‘’scolatura’’(draining). The Crypt, in recent times, was chosen as a place of safekeeping for the remains salvaged during the demolition of the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Naples, remains which also count those of Bernardo Tanucci, right-hand man of Carlo di Borbone first and then of Ferdinando IV. Refined intellectual and illuminist, Tanucci consistently worked to give a new face to the Kingdom of Naples, in an attempt to make it a sovereign State in which the greatest resource was the populace itself: he tried to eradicate the feudal system strongly rooted in the region and to win over the oppressive regime which had been imposed in the area; he reduced the benefits that the clergy enjoyed and elaborated a public instruction system. From several different sources, it emerges that Tanucci’s mortal remains were moved in a wooden box to the ‘’Crypt of the Lombards’’ and so it’s very likely for them to be stored there to this day.