Napule è… Centro storico!

Naples offers many sights that should not be missed. In its 2800 years long history, numerous historical buildings and monuments were built, some destroyed and rebuilt, many left almost unchanged, with the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles being the dominant in the nucleus called ‘centro storico’ of Naples… Let’s start the walk!  The centrally located square is the famous Piazza del Plebiscito with the Palazzo Reale and the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola. Typical colonnades extend on both side of the basilica… Why is this remarkable large, spacious white sunny square named after the plebiscite? Simply, because on October 2nd, 1860, the plebiscite brought Naples to the united Italy! Need we say more? The square was initially planned by the King of Naples Murat, Napoleon’s brother in law, as the special tribute to the Emperor! Actually, the Bourbons finished ‘the project’ under Ferdinand I with the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola that we know today. There is an interesting fact. The basilica was actually the Roman Pantheon of Naples… The façade, on the frontal side has a portico with six columns and two special Ionic pillars, with the circular shape with two-side chapels and the 53m high dome dominating the square! Adorable! In the ‘centro storico’, near the Piazza del Plebiscito, there is the Royal Theatre and Opera House (Il Teatro di San Carlo), the oldest and the largest opera theater in Italy. Commissioned by the Burbon King Charles VII of Naples, the new edifice designed by Giovanni Antonio Medrano, was inaugurated in 1737, decades before the famous Milanese La Scala or Venitian La Fenice, with Domenico Sarro’s Achilles in Sciro! Christoph Willibald Gluck and Johann Christian Bach were invited to Naples to direct the operas in the 18th century… In 1816, the Theatre was destroyed by the fire, but the outer walls remained The restoration and the re-designation of the oeuvre was done by Antonio Niccolini in only ten months, to execute the order of the King Ferdinand IV! On the occasion of its rebirth, Stendhal was there and wrote the following: “ There is nothing in all Europe, I won’t say comparable to this theatre, but which gives the slightest idea of what it is like… It dazzles the eyes, it enraptures the soul…” Quoi dire de plus? Porpora, Piccinni, Cimarosa worked there as the Neapolitan operatic composers and Manuel Garcia and his daughter Maria Malibran, Rubini, Nourrit and Duprez, Farinelli and Veluti all sang there, as well. Gioacchino Rossini was the house composer and the director and wrote ten of his operas there, including Mose in Egitto, Maometto II, La donna del lago, Otello, ossia il Moro di Venezia and Armida among others. Afterwards, Gaetano Donizetti became the artistic director until 1838, composing 16 operatic oeuvres for the San Carlo theatre including Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux, Pliuto, Lucia di Lammermoor… Bellini and Verdi were also associated with the house. Alzira and Luisa Miller were written for the house! In the 19th and 20th century Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano and Cilea worked in San Carlo both composing and staging their works in Naples. Across the Opera, there is old commercial spacious cross-shaped covered area – Galleria Umberto I, built between 1887 and 1891 according to the designs of Emmanuelle Rocco, uniting business, commerce, pleasure and social life under one roof, being all the time the public space with the apartments on the third floor! On the top, there is the impressive glass dome.


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This entry was posted in Architecture & Design, Art: Ars altera pars, History of art, Music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Napule è… Centro storico!

  1. Pingback: C’era une volta una piazza… Napoli | Necessities

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