History of Naples

You have chosen to come to Naples!

Oh yes to get to this point means that you decided: you booked flight and stay.

And it is right that before your arrival you can get an idea even if minimal, of the immense cultural, historical and artistic baggage that this city can offer you.


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Naples

The city of Naples, rich in history and tradition, dominates the homonymous gulf, and is surrounded by wonderful places such as Vesuvius, the Sorrento peninsula, the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida and the Campi Flegrei.

Located at the center of the Mediterranean, it has always played a fundamental role in connecting different cultures, and has seen the succession of different historical phases over the centuries and left their mark both in the architecture of the city and in the traditions and character of the Neapolitan people . Capital of the Campania Region and "capital" of Southern Italy, Naples today covers an area of 117 square kilometers, with a population, in the city alone, of over one million inhabitants.

The historical route of the city of Naples can be summarized in the following phases, each of which is dedicated a paragraph.

The origins

The ancient origins of Naples sink in the legend, or rather, in a series of legends. At the center of all, there is the siren Partenope, who, struck by the cunning of Ulysses escaped the power of the sirens' song, would have committed suicide, and her body would have drifted to the ground on the rocks of the islet of Megaride, where today stands the Castel Ovo.

According to a less legendary version, Parthenope would instead have been a beautiful girl, daughter of the Greek leader Eumelo Falevo, who had gone to the coast of Campania to found a colony; but a storm hit the ship, causing the death of Parthenope, in tribute to which the new city was named.

From the historical information, in fact, it is known that Greek colonists first settled on the island of Ischia (IX century BC), to then move to Cuma and, only in the VI century BC, found the city of Partenope on the island of Megaride. It was more than a commercial stopover to maintain contact with the mother country, which, at a later time, expanded on the nearby Monte Echia (Pizzofalcone), taking over the structure of a small urban center.


Greek-Roman Naples

In 470 BC, the Cuman Greeks decided to found a real city, choosing an area to the east of the old Partenope, an area that corresponds to the current historical center; the name chosen was that of Neapolis ("new city"), to distinguish it from the previous urban nucleus (Palepolis, "old city"). Probably, at this stage, the city was an aristocratic republic ruled by two archons and a council of nobles.

Urbanistically the city, as in the tradition of the Greek cities, was characterized by presence of thistles and decumani, and it was rich in buildings of cult and public utility: temples, curia, theater, racecourse; became an important colony of Magna Graecia, along with Taranto and Cuma, and the traditions, culture, mentality, art developed during this period drew the Romans into the next phase of city life.

Neapolis was not a warrior city, but soon had to defend itself from two uncomfortable neighbors: the Samnites, who in 423 BC. Cuma conquered the inhabitants, and the Romans, determined to expand their domain to the south. The first relations between Rome and Neapolis were marked by friendship and an attempt to conclude agreements, but, under the pressure of the other colonies, Neapolis was then forced to refuse collaborations with the Romans; this led in 326 a.C. to an armed conflict which, despite the alliance of the Neapolitans with Samnites and Nolans, ended with the victory of the Roman consul. Peace was not, however, shameful: a confederation was established with Rome, and the city was able to maintain its own prerogatives and institutions, revealing itself later on as a faithful ally of the ever more powerful neighbor. Moreover, Neapolis was for Rome an important vehicle of Greek culture and civilization: the city and its surroundings became a privileged destination for the summer residences of the Roman patricians, who built luxurious villas between Puteoli and Sorrento (Scipio Africanus, Silla, Tiberius , Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Brutus and Lucullus, for example, chose these lands for rest and pleasure: Cicero, Horace, Pliny the Elder, Virgil, found inspiration here for their artistic genius). Naples was in short a center of refined culture, a strip of Greece in the Italian peninsula, which the Romans always knew to respect and appreciate, avoiding to pollute and oppress it.

The origins

The ancient origins of Naples sink in the legend, or rather, in a series of legends. At the center of all, there is the siren Partenope, who, struck by the cunning of Ulysses escaped the power of the sirens' song, would have committed suicide, and her body would have drifted to the ground on the rocks of the islet of Megaride, where today stands the Castel Ovo.

According to a less legendary version, Parthenope would instead have been a beautiful girl, daughter of the Greek leader Eumelo Falevo, who had gone to the coast of Campania to found a colony; but a storm hit the ship, causing the death of Parthenope, in tribute to which the new city was named.

From the historical information, in fact, it is known that Greek colonists first settled on the island of Ischia (IX century BC), to then move to Cuma and, only in the VI century BC, found the city of Partenope on the island of Megaride. It was more than a commercial stopover to maintain contact with the mother country, which, at a later time, expanded on the nearby Monte Echia (Pizzofalcone), taking over the structure of a small urban center.


Greek-Roman Naples

In 470 BC, the Cuman Greeks decided to found a real city, choosing an area to the east of the old Partenope, an area that corresponds to the current historical center; the name chosen was that of Neapolis ("new city"), to distinguish it from the previous urban nucleus (Palepolis, "old city"). Probably, at this stage, the city was an aristocratic republic ruled by two archons and a council of nobles.

Urbanistically the city, as in the tradition of the Greek cities, was characterized by presence of thistles and decumani, and it was rich in buildings of cult and public utility: temples, curia, theater, racecourse; became an important colony of Magna Graecia, along with Taranto and Cuma, and the traditions, culture, mentality, art developed during this period drew the Romans into the next phase of city life.

Neapolis was not a warrior city, but soon had to defend itself from two uncomfortable neighbors: the Samnites, who in 423 BC. Cuma conquered the inhabitants, and the Romans, determined to expand their domain to the south. The first relations between Rome and Neapolis were marked by friendship and an attempt to conclude agreements, but, under the pressure of the other colonies, Neapolis was then forced to refuse collaborations with the Romans; this led in 326 a.C. to an armed conflict which, despite the alliance of the Neapolitans with Samnites and Nolans, ended with the victory of the Roman consul. Peace was not, however, shameful: a confederation was established with Rome, and the city was able to maintain its own prerogatives and institutions, revealing itself later on as a faithful ally of the ever more powerful neighbor. Moreover, Neapolis was for Rome an important vehicle of Greek culture and civilization: the city and its surroundings became a privileged destination for the summer residences of the Roman patricians, who built luxurious villas between Puteoli and Sorrento (Scipio Africanus, Silla, Tiberius , Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Brutus and Lucullus, for example, chose these lands for rest and pleasure: Cicero, Horace, Pliny the Elder, Virgil, found inspiration here for their artistic genius). Naples was in short a center of refined culture, a strip of Greece in the Italian peninsula, which the Romans always knew to respect and appreciate, avoiding to pollute and oppress it.

The Duchy of Naples

The division of the Roman Empire, the barbarian invasions in the peninsula, and then the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476 AD) determined the history of Naples in the early Middle Ages. In 536 Justinian, emperor of the East, sent Belisarius to conquer the city, which even defended itself valiantly; then, in 542, Naples was invaded by the Goths, which routed the Byzantine forces; these, however, in 553 resumed there under the command of Narses, who with a great battle at the foot of Vesuvius definitively chased the Goths from Campania.

Later, even under the unwelcome Byzantine domination, the city had to repel strong and rough enemies like the Lombards and the Vandals. After an attempt of independence in 615, which led to an autonomous government of short life, the emperor of the East in 661 accepted the requests of the Neapolitans, appointing a Neapolitan duke to head the city: Basilio. In this way, although formally depending on Byzantium, the city dispose of its own government, which was first appointed by the Byzantines, then became elective, and finally hereditary. This lasted from 661 to 1137, a period of bitter struggles in which Naples was after all one of the few islands of civilization remained in the peninsula now subjugated by the barbarian populations.


The Norman domain

During the centuries of ducal rule, Naples often found itself opposed to the Lombards and the Saracens, and for this reason sometimes resorted to the support of other populations, called in mercenary form to help the Neapolitan defenses. This was the case of the Normans, who were granted the fief of Aversa in exchange for resistance to the expansionist ambitions of Benevento. But these, under the dynasty of the Altavilla, soon did not know how to settle for their role, and undertook a series of brilliant campaigns that led them to conquer Sicily, from which they drove the Arabs, and then to extend their ambitions on southern Italy. . Ruggiero II, proclaimed king, occupied Salerno, Amalfi, Capri, Ravello and Amalfi and in 1137, with an agreement with Duke Sergio, imposed his power over Naples; at the death of the duke, Ruggiero recognized the city's independence and appointed a supervisor to return to Palermo. In 1154, Ruggiero also died, and Guglielmo I, called il Malo, succeeded him; in spite of the name, he was a just and wise ruler, and since then the history of Naples was closely linked to that of Palermo; built Castel Capuano, made important alliances with the Maritime Republics, earned the esteem of the Neapolitan aristocrats. After him, William II, called the Good, governed as wisely, and at his death an assembly of nobles, prelates and representatives of the people, to prevent the kingdom falling into the hands of the Germans who were pressing at the borders, appointed Tancredi d'Altavilla as his successor. They were the last flashes of life of the Norman kingdom, because, after having repelled the Swabian siege in 1191, at the death of Tancredi in 1194 the German sovereign Henry VI took possession of the south of Italy.

Napoli sveva

After 3 years of reign of Henry VI, not very happy with the city, there was the ascent to the throne of Frederick II, considered by many to be the greatest king who has ever been on a European throne. With Naples it did not have a good relationship from the beginning, so much so that in the first period the Neapolitans supported several attempts at subversion; then the relations improved and, when between 1220 and 1222 the monarch visited the city, he remained impressed and promoted important restoration and embellishment works. A man of great culture, he created a strong central power for his reign, reorganized the public administration, justice, the army, and commerce; became the protagonist of some successful military enterprises in Germany and Jerusalem, but above all it must be remembered that he loved to surround himself with poets, philosophers and writers, and gave the city of Naples the first State University of history: the famous "Studium" ", which soon acquired great international prestige, equaled only by the universities of Paris and Bologna. At the death of Frederick, however, his successor Corrado encountered many problems to be accepted in the city, and it took several months of siege to overcome the resistance, supported also by Pope Innocent IV. In 1254 both Corrado and the Pope died, and this time the new pontiff Alexander IV did not give a hand in Naples, who had to welcome the new sovereign Corradino, accompanied and supported by his uncle Manfredi for his young age.

Napoli angioina

In 1266, called in Italy by the pope, Charles of Anjou, brother of the king of France, he defeated Manfred at Benevento and assumed the crown of the southern kingdom. By decision of Charles, the city became the capital of the kingdom (nonostanthe strong Sicilian protests), and the society was organized into Seats, democratic bodies that acted as mediators between the monarch and the interests of the people. Despite a strong fiscal pressure, with the new domination the city changed its face: splendid churches, monumental factories were built, there was a development of crafts and commerce, and the population increased dramatically, so that Naples became the first metropolis of Italy, probably second only in Paris in Europe. However, things were not at all easy for the sovereign: first of all he had to face a new assault by Corradino in 1267, who, defeated at Tagliacozzo, was beheaded, little more than a teenager, in piazza Mercato; then there were the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, with the loss of Sicily, and an attempt to revolt in Naples in 1284, by the Ghibellines, repressed with the help of the local aristocracy. When Carlo died in 1285, he was succeeded by Charles II, who brought improvements to the monumental heritage of the city (expansion of the walls, restructuring of the Castel dell'Ovo , restyling of Maschio Angioino , built by his father), and turned out to be a good legislator. In 1309, another great sovereign ascended the Neapolitan throne: Robert of Anjou, called the Sage, a lover of letters and art, who created a remarkable intellectual climate (Boccaccio, Giotto, Petrarca, Tino da Camaino resided and worked here in that period), promoted legislative studies, promoted the construction of the church of St. Clare (in which there is his funeral monument), and a great flowering of the Gothic style (churches of S. Lorenzo, S. Paolo Maggiore, of Incoronata, basilica of S. Domenico Maggiore). After Roberto's death (1343), his niece Giovanna created many problems for the city with its frivolous and senseless behavior; in this period, plague epidemics, riots and Hungarian raids tormented the city; Giovanna's throne fell after forty years of reign at the hands of her nephew Carlo Durazzo d'Angiò, who took advantage of the trust placed in him to assassinate her and take her place, but died a few years later.

The lineage of the Durazzo, secondary branch of the d'Angiò, brought the young Ladislao to the throne of Naples; great hostility came to these from Louis II of Anjou, who had claims to the throne, and which led to the division of the city into two factions. However, Ladislao ended up prevailing, and he was also a good ruler; in 1404, with the desire to unify the peninsula, conquered Rome, but had to abandon it in 1409. He died just forty years old, leaving the throne to his sister Giovanna, also devoted, like his namesake ancestor, more to the amorous treats and scandals than to government activity.


Aragonese Naples

A few years before he died, Giovanna Durazzo, feeling in danger, he asked for help from Alfonso of Aragon, king of Sicily, and he adopted it, legitimizing in fact the right to succession. Later he retraced his steps, designating Renato d'Angiò as heir, but this provoked the anger of the Aragonese ruler, who besieged and conquered Naples in 1442. It was the beginning of the Aragonese domination, which brought economic and civil development to the city, and at whose court it was possible to penetrate the ideals and Renaissance art: artists such as Giovanni Pontano, Jacopo Sannazaro, Pietro Summonte, Pietro Beccadelli and Lorenzo Valli they were able to express their talent thanks to the virtuous climate promoted by Alfonso, who deserved the nickname of Magnanimo. And great testimonies of that period remain in the artistic heritage of the city: think of the marble arch of the Castel Nuovo (wanted by the sovereign to celebrate the conquest of the city), to the church of S.Anna dei Lombardi, to that of S. Angelo al Nilo, works that contributed great artists such as Vasari and Donatello. On the death of Alfonso the Magnanimous, in 1458, the crown of Naples passed to his son Ferrante, while Sicily was assigned to the other son Giovanni. Under the reign of Ferrante, the city had to defend itself against new Angevin pretensions (contained with the victories at Sarno and in the naval battle of Ischia), fight a war against Florence (in 1458), and the sovereign also had to face numerous conspiracy attempts from the Barons of the kingdom; Ferrante was a good king and a fine lawmaker, and during his reign the majestic Porta Capuana In 1493 he died, and Alfonso II ascended the throne, but under the pressure of a possible return French, supported by many internal protesters, soon abdicated in favor of his son Ferrantino, but Ferrantino could not resist the French army of Charles VIII, and had to flee to Ischia while the Angevins entered the city, only when Carlo returned to Paris, leaving some garrisons in Naples, the Aragonese managed to return to the city, and regain the favors of the Neapolitan people, but died two years later, among the regrets of the Neapolitans, and the crown passed to Uncle Federico d'Altamura.

Napoli angioina

In 1266, called in Italy by the pope, Charles of Anjou, brother of the king of France, he defeated Manfred at Benevento and assumed the crown of the southern kingdom. By decision of Charles, the city became the capital of the kingdom (nonostanthe strong Sicilian protests), and the society was organized into Seats, democratic bodies that acted as mediators between the monarch and the interests of the people. Despite a strong fiscal pressure, with the new domination the city changed its face: splendid churches, monumental factories were built, there was a development of crafts and commerce, and the population increased dramatically, so that Naples became the first metropolis of Italy, probably second only in Paris in Europe. However, things were not at all easy for the sovereign: first of all he had to face a new assault by Corradino in 1267, who, defeated at Tagliacozzo, was beheaded, little more than a teenager, in piazza Mercato; then there were the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, with the loss of Sicily, and an attempt to revolt in Naples in 1284, by the Ghibellines, repressed with the help of the local aristocracy. When Carlo died in 1285, he was succeeded by Charles II, who brought improvements to the monumental heritage of the city (expansion of the walls, restructuring of the Castel dell'Ovo , restyling of Maschio Angioino , built by his father), and turned out to be a good legislator. In 1309, another great sovereign ascended the Neapolitan throne: Robert of Anjou, called the Sage, a lover of letters and art, who created a remarkable intellectual climate (Boccaccio, Giotto, Petrarca, Tino da Camaino resided and worked here in that period), promoted legislative studies, promoted the construction of the church of St. Clare (in which there is his funeral monument), and a great flowering of the Gothic style (churches of S. Lorenzo, S. Paolo Maggiore, of Incoronata, basilica of S. Domenico Maggiore). After Roberto's death (1343), his niece Giovanna created many problems for the city with its frivolous and senseless behavior; in this period, plague epidemics, riots and Hungarian raids tormented the city; Giovanna's throne fell after forty years of reign at the hands of her nephew Carlo Durazzo d'Angiò, who took advantage of the trust placed in him to assassinate her and take her place, but died a few years later.

The lineage of the Durazzo, secondary branch of the d'Angiò, brought the young Ladislao to the throne of Naples; great hostility came to these from Louis II of Anjou, who had claims to the throne, and which led to the division of the city into two factions. However, Ladislao ended up prevailing, and he was also a good ruler; in 1404, with the desire to unify the peninsula, conquered Rome, but had to abandon it in 1409. He died just forty years old, leaving the throne to his sister Giovanna, also devoted, like his namesake ancestor, more to the amorous treats and scandals than to government activity.


Aragonese Naples

A few years before he died, Giovanna Durazzo, feeling in danger, he asked for help from Alfonso of Aragon, king of Sicily, and he adopted it, legitimizing in fact the right to succession. Later he retraced his steps, designating Renato d'Angiò as heir, but this provoked the anger of the Aragonese ruler, who besieged and conquered Naples in 1442. It was the beginning of the Aragonese domination, which brought economic and civil development to the city, and at whose court it was possible to penetrate the ideals and Renaissance art: artists such as Giovanni Pontano, Jacopo Sannazaro, Pietro Summonte, Pietro Beccadelli and Lorenzo Valli they were able to express their talent thanks to the virtuous climate promoted by Alfonso, who deserved the nickname of Magnanimo. And great testimonies of that period remain in the artistic heritage of the city: think of the marble arch of the Castel Nuovo (wanted by the sovereign to celebrate the conquest of the city), to the church of S.Anna dei Lombardi, to that of S. Angelo al Nilo, works that contributed great artists such as Vasari and Donatello. On the death of Alfonso the Magnanimous, in 1458, the crown of Naples passed to his son Ferrante, while Sicily was assigned to the other son Giovanni. Under the reign of Ferrante, the city had to defend itself against new Angevin pretensions (contained with the victories at Sarno and in the naval battle of Ischia), fight a war against Florence (in 1458), and the sovereign also had to face numerous conspiracy attempts from the Barons of the kingdom; Ferrante was a good king and a fine lawmaker, and during his reign the majestic Porta Capuana In 1493 he died, and Alfonso II ascended the throne, but under the pressure of a possible return French, supported by many internal protesters, soon abdicated in favor of his son Ferrantino, but Ferrantino could not resist the French army of Charles VIII, and had to flee to Ischia while the Angevins entered the city, only when Carlo returned to Paris, leaving some garrisons in Naples, the Aragonese managed to return to the city, and regain the favors of the Neapolitan people, but died two years later, among the regrets of the Neapolitans, and the crown passed to Uncle Federico d'Altamura.

The Spanish viceroyalty

This definition is attributed to the two centuries of colonial domination between 1503 and 1707 : the choir The ruler of Madrid exercised his power over Naples and the kingdom with greed and inability; a swarm of viceroy happened to the regency of the city, and became the protagonist of bullying, theft of works of art, the imposition of strangling taxes. In this period, to defend the people from the Iberian arrogance, the phenomenon of the "camorra" was born and became established, which initially constituted a sort of secret society for the purpose of mutual assistance. Numerous war events marked this era: the occupation of the Pugliese possessions of Venice, the African expedition to Tunis and the famous one in Tripoli (in which there was the victory of Lepanto), the punitive expedition against Pope Paul IV, and, on the defensive plan, the French invasion rejected in 1526, and numerous raids by Arab and Turkish pirates. Also on the home front, there were numerous attempts at popular uprising, due to the unsustainable fiscal pressure and attempts to establish the Inquisition; the most famous and daring was that of 1647, which saw Masaniello as the protagonist at the head of an enraged crowd, who held for over a year in check the Spanish "masters", until the taking of the Castello del Carmine, headquarters of the insurgents. From the artistic point of view, however, the city also knew in this period to express great individuality in all fields (Torquato Tasso, Giovambattista Basile, Giambattista Marino in literature, Tommaso Campanella, Giordano Bruno and Giambattista Vico in philosophy, Massimo Stanzione, Battistello Caracciolo , Bernardo Cavallino, Salvator Rosa, Luca Giordano, Mattia Preti, Andrea da Salerno in painting, Pietro Bernini, Michelangelo Naccherino, Giovanni da Nola and Girolamo Santacroce in sculpture, Domenico Fontana and Cosimo Fanzago in architecture); among the most significant works that remain of time, we should mention the Palazzo Reale , the Certosa di San Martino and the church of Gesù Nuovo .


The eighteenth century borbonico

The years after 1707 constituted a period of transition, characterized by an Austrian viceroyalty that did not leave great signs on the city's history. In 1734 Charles of Bourbon ascended on the throne of Naples, heir to the Spanish dynasty, who - despite his descent - immediately marked his reign with greater autonomy than the previous two centuries.

The sovereign, the throne as Charles VII, implemented a series of reforms in the areas of administration, taxation, trade and the military, which constituted a new impetus for the development in the following decades of activities that still today they characterize the economic and productive fabric of Naples: from the craft activities (the crib art, but also the workings of the coral, the ceramics and porcelains, precious metals, wood) to the industrial ones (the shipyards of Castellammare, the manufactory di S. Leucio), to the commercial ones (the port of Naples). His efforts to contain the temporal power of the clergy and to bring down the feudal privileges still existing at the time was also strong.

The reign of Charles I has left important signs also in the city's architecture and urban planning (in 1737 the San Carlo Theater, in 1738 work began for the construction of the oils/monuments/ PortaCapuana.htm "> Porta Capuana In 1493 he died, and Alfonso II ascended the throne, but under the pressure of a possible return French, supported by many internal protesters, soon abdicated in favor of his son Ferrantino, but Ferrantino could not resist the French army of Charles VIII, and had to flee to Ischia while the Angevins entered the city, only when Carlo returned to Paris, leaving some garrisons in Naples, the Aragonese managed to return to the city, and regain the favors of the Neapolitan people, but died two years later, among the regrets of the Neapolitans, and the crown passed to Uncle Federico d'Altamura.


The French decade

Giuseppe Bonaparte reigned in Naples for just three years (1805-1808), during which he started some important public works in the city (including the road that goes through Posillipo ) and implemented an administrative reform, expanding the borders of Naples -subdivided in twelve neighborhoods-, establishing the figure of the mayor, supported by an elected organ, and introducing the urban land registry. In this period the Botanical Garden , in via Foria, and the Conservatory of Music, which was located in the convent of S. Pietro a Majella, and which would have contributed so much to the flowering of Neapolitan music.

In 1808, Napoleon entrusted the kingdom to Joachim Murat, his son-in-law and faithful general of his army; the character of the new sovereign made him loved by the Neapolitan people, and his military skills allowed him to form an army that obtained important successes, both at home (conquering the island of Capri, already in the hands of the English, and defeating an Anglo fleet - Spanish in the Gulf of Naples) that in the Russian campaign of 1812. For the city, Murat performed other public works, such as the opening of the Corso Napoleone, which connected Via Toledo with Capodimonte and was a prelude to the development of the city to the north.

The Congress of Vienna and the Restoration imposed the removal of Murat from Naples, despite its numerous attempts to remain on the throne. Confined in Corsica, the general wanted to implement in October 1815 a last desperate plan for the reconquest of the Kingdom, disembarking with a small garrison in Calabria; captured by the Bourbon army, was condemned to the shooting.


Bourbon return

With Congress of Vienna, the return to Naples of Ferdinand of Bourbon was decreed, which this time ascended the throne with the name of Ferdinand I, after having unified the Kingdom of Naples and that of Sicily in the "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies". Among the first acts of the new government, Ferdinand introduced new innovative legal codes, and stipulated the concordat with the Church, restoring the assets confiscated by the French, but without restoring all pre-existing privileges to the decade.

In these years, Palazzo S.Giacomo is built in the current piazza Municipio , as the seat of the new ministries of the Kingdom; in 1816, the reorganization of the Largo di Palazzo was started (the current Piazza Plebiscito ), renamed Foro Ferdinandeo, with the construction of the imposing neoclassical proscenium church of San Francesco di Paola and the addition of the two equestrian statues of the sovereigns Carlo and Ferdinando di Borbone; in the same year, Ferdinando had the beautiful Villa Floridiana for his morganatic wife, Duchess of Floridia to Vomero; in 1819, the Astronomical Observatory was established, the first in Europe.

1820 was the year of liberal movements in Europe, and in Naples these were reflected in the uprising led by William Pepper. Frightened by this new crisis, Ferdinando took an ambiguous and prodigious attitude, first granting the Constitution, and then asking for Austrian military intervention, to be able to repeal it.

In 1825, Ferdinando died, he was succeeded by Francesco I, who reigned for a few years, without leaving any notable signs. In 1830 Ferdinand II ascended to the throne, which instead immediately conquered the benevolence of his people, and initially also the esteem of Italian liberals. Along with a major effort to reorganize the army, the new king gave impetus to progress in several sectors, allowing Naples to become a center of excellence, and to reach many records: in 1837 it was the first city in Italy to have gas lighting; in 1839 the Naples-Portici was inaugurated, the first Italian railway; in 1841 Vesuvius Observatory was born, the first volcanological center in the world. Telegraph lines, new roads, bridges, health facilities, schools and professional institutes were inaugurated, and the population reached half a million inhabitants, unquestionably the largest city in Italy. The culture of the time saw the birth of the great tradition of Neapolitan song, the first expressions of the dialect theater (with Eduardo Scarpetta) and the flowering, in the figurative arts, of the School of Posillipo, which among its exponents Domenico Morelli, F.P. Michetti, the Palizzi brothers, Gioacchino Toma.

On the political level, 1848 was the year of the liberal uprisings, and also in Naples, following the reforms obtained in Tuscany and Piedmont, there were uprisings that ended with the promulgation of the Constitution and the establishment of Parliament. The following years saw the Kingdom of Naples fighting alongside the Pope, engaged in the struggles against the liberals and forced into exile in Gaeta; the army sent by Ferdinando obtained important victories against the Roman revolutionaries, in Terracina and Palestrina. Ferdinando II died in 1859, on the threshold of the fateful year of the Unification of Italy.

The French decade

Giuseppe Bonaparte reigned in Naples for just three years (1805-1808), during which he started some important public works in the city (including the road that goes through Posillipo ) and implemented an administrative reform, expanding the borders of Naples -subdivided in twelve neighborhoods-, establishing the figure of the mayor, supported by an elected organ, and introducing the urban land registry. In this period the Botanical Garden , in via Foria, and the Conservatory of Music, which was located in the convent of S. Pietro a Majella, and which would have contributed so much to the flowering of Neapolitan music.

In 1808, Napoleon entrusted the kingdom to Joachim Murat, his son-in-law and faithful general of his army; the character of the new sovereign made him loved by the Neapolitan people, and his military skills allowed him to form an army that obtained important successes, both at home (conquering the island of Capri, already in the hands of the English, and defeating an Anglo fleet - Spanish in the Gulf of Naples) that in the Russian campaign of 1812. For the city, Murat performed other public works, such as the opening of the Corso Napoleone, which connected Via Toledo with Capodimonte and was a prelude to the development of the city to the north.

The Congress of Vienna and the Restoration imposed the removal of Murat from Naples, despite its numerous attempts to remain on the throne. Confined in Corsica, the general wanted to implement in October 1815 a last desperate plan for the reconquest of the Kingdom, disembarking with a small garrison in Calabria; captured by the Bourbon army, was condemned to the shooting.


Bourbon return

With Congress of Vienna, the return to Naples of Ferdinand of Bourbon was decreed, which this time ascended the throne with the name of Ferdinand I, after having unified the Kingdom of Naples and that of Sicily in the "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies". Among the first acts of the new government, Ferdinand introduced new innovative legal codes, and stipulated the concordat with the Church, restoring the assets confiscated by the French, but without restoring all pre-existing privileges to the decade.

In these years, Palazzo S.Giacomo is built in the current piazza Municipio , as the seat of the new ministries of the Kingdom; in 1816, the reorganization of the Largo di Palazzo was started (the current Piazza Plebiscito ), renamed Foro Ferdinandeo, with the construction of the imposing neoclassical proscenium church of San Francesco di Paola and the addition of the two equestrian statues of the sovereigns Carlo and Ferdinando di Borbone; in the same year, Ferdinando had the beautiful Villa Floridiana for his morganatic wife, Duchess of Floridia to Vomero; in 1819, the Astronomical Observatory was established, the first in Europe.

1820 was the year of liberal movements in Europe, and in Naples these were reflected in the uprising led by William Pepper. Frightened by this new crisis, Ferdinando took an ambiguous and prodigious attitude, first granting the Constitution, and then asking for Austrian military intervention, to be able to repeal it.

In 1825, Ferdinando died, he was succeeded by Francesco I, who reigned for a few years, without leaving any notable signs. In 1830 Ferdinand II ascended to the throne, which instead immediately conquered the benevolence of his people, and initially also the esteem of Italian liberals. Along with a major effort to reorganize the army, the new king gave impetus to progress in several sectors, allowing Naples to become a center of excellence, and to reach many records: in 1837 it was the first city in Italy to have gas lighting; in 1839 the Naples-Portici was inaugurated, the first Italian railway; in 1841 Vesuvius Observatory was born, the first volcanological center in the world. Telegraph lines, new roads, bridges, health facilities, schools and professional institutes were inaugurated, and the population reached half a million inhabitants, unquestionably the largest city in Italy. The culture of the time saw the birth of the great tradition of Neapolitan song, the first expressions of the dialect theater (with Eduardo Scarpetta) and the flowering, in the figurative arts, of the School of Posillipo, which among its exponents Domenico Morelli, F.P. Michetti, the Palizzi brothers, Gioacchino Toma.

On the political level, 1848 was the year of the liberal uprisings, and also in Naples, following the reforms obtained in Tuscany and Piedmont, there were uprisings that ended with the promulgation of the Constitution and the establishment of Parliament. The following years saw the Kingdom of Naples fighting alongside the Pope, engaged in the struggles against the liberals and forced into exile in Gaeta; the army sent by Ferdinando obtained important victories against the Roman revolutionaries, in Terracina and Palestrina. Ferdinando II died in 1859, on the threshold of the fateful year of the Unification of Italy.

Naples after the Unification of Italy

On the death of Ferdinando, the young Francesco II, who will be the last King of the Two Sicilies, succeeds him. It is 1860, and the landing at Marsala dei Mille led by Garibaldi is facilitated by the mutiny of the Bourbon navy, and by the benevolence of some generals stationed in Sicily; while they are going back to the boot, the Garibaldini acquire the consent of the liberals, of the English and Piedmontese diplomacy, of the bourgeoisie and even of the Camorra. Francis II, in order not to dye the capital with blood, carries his army to the north, beyond the Volturno river, and awaits the Garibaldini, who will face in the battle of Caiazzo. Squeezed between the army of Garibaldi to the south and the Piedmontese army, which in the meantime penetrates from the north under the command of Vittorio Emanuele II, the Neapolitan regiments are perched in the fortress of Gaeta, where they resist for a long time, but without the possibility of overturning the results of the war. Thus, with the historic meeting of Teano, Vittorio Emanuele is seen delivering the whole Southern Italy and September 7 Garibaldi enters Naples and, from the balcony of Palazzo Doria d'Angri , announces to the people annexation to the nascent Italian state, under the Savoy crown; the plebiscite of October 21 will confirm this action.

The following are years of change and adjustment, especially for the population, grappling with a new political reality and with a distant government and indifferent; in the countryside the phenomenon known as "brigandage" spreads, and the repression is harsh, sending an army of 120,000 men.

From this period begins the decline of the South of Italy that as a result still alive and current sees huge economic divergences between Southern Italy and Northern Italy with the latter rich, industrialized and supported by the government central with continuous public funding.