Lungomare of Naples Route

 In Art Itineraries, Historical Center, Mergellina

DOBEDOO – Lungomare of Naples Route is a scenic route on the seafront of Naples through some of the city’s main monuments and its historic activities.
The route lasts between 3 and 5 hours on foot.

Lungomare of Naples Route: PIAZZA MUNICIPIO

Piazza Municipio is one of the biggest European squares. The square boasts the presence of some important monuments and points of interest like the great “Castel Nuovo”, called also “Maschio Angioino”, San Giacomo Palace, the municipal headquarter and Mercadante Theatre and moreover it overlooks the harbour of Naples.

Originally its name was Platea Corrigiarium, because the square took own name from the Corregge, that were spears  used during chariots races or others tournaments which the square hosted as an entertainment for Neapolitan population at the greek-roman era.

Piazza Municipio acquired more relevance after the construction of Castel Nuovo in the XIII century AD (After Death).

The “Largo di Castello”, now Piazza Municipio, was planned by Don Pedro de Toledo and at a later time it was levelled and enlarged by Domenico Fontana.

In this “Largo” you could have found all types of people, from prostitutes to seller of stolen wares, actors and comedians who played in court theatres, and they loved improvising some works in the square, in order to entertain people. Later on, for this reason, a stage was built and called “San Carlino”, in order to distinguish it from San Carlo Theater. On this stage was born Pulcinella, the greatest Neapolitan mask.

During the excavations for the construction of the new underground line in 2005, in addition to a new architectural asset, there some finds have been found that belonged to the old harbour of Naples that have led to the birth of a small archaeological museum inside the underground station of Museo, called Stazione Neapolis.

Lungomare of Naples Route: MASCHIO ANGIOINO

Castel Nuovo, even named Maschio Angioino, is a historic medieval and Renaissance castle considered as one of the great emblems of the city.

It rises in the middle of Piazza Municipio on the side of Palazzo Reale gardens, few steps from the harbour of Naples. This position was chosen by Carlo I the Angevin in 1266 that ordered to build a fortify palace near the sea.

In 1279 the Angevin King gave the role to the French architect Pierre de Chaulnes and only three years later the works of the castle were finished. Initially it has a gothic style, and furthermore the castle has an irregular quadrilateral map, four powerful defence rooks, crenellated parapets (castellated) and a protection moat.

Afterwards the successors of Carlo implemented different interventation of enlargement and ornamentation entrusting the task to some great artists as Giotto and his apprentices.

In the XV century, Alfonso of Aragon was crowned King of Naples and the castle was named Castel Nuovo.

Under the authorities of the Aragonese, the architect Guglielmo Sagreran  supervised  the majestic restoration works: the rooks were lowered, a fifth one was added and the perimentral walls were thickened till the actual form.

One of the most relevant works of the Italian Renaissance age is the Arco Trionfale (triumphal arch), an arch made with white marble that adorns the castle gate, it is similar to the triumphal Roman arches. This one was erected between the two rooks at the entry of the castle and it represents the entrance of King Alfonso in the capital city. Beyond of this, there is a inner garden with many duty gates that bring to the rooks.

The Maschio Angioino is the headquarter of the Società Napoletana di Storia Patria (Neapolitan Society of Homeland History) and of the Museo Civico (Civic Museum).

This last one offers the possibility of a museum stroll, where people can admire sculptures and paints works from the baroque, from the Renaissance and from the Neapolitan XIX century and host many temporary exhibitions.

Lungomare of Naples Route: PALAZZO REALE

The Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) of Naples is a kingly building located in Piazza del Plebiscito (Plebiscito square) in the historic center of Naples, where is situated its main entrance: the entire complex that includes the gardens and the San Carlo Theater overlooks on Piazza (Square) Trieste e Trento, Piazza Municipio (Townhall Square) and via Acton.

It was the historic residence of the Spanish viceroy for more than hundred and fifty years. It was sold in 1919 from Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy to the Italian state-property and mainly used as museum pole, especially the Royal Apartments, and it is the headquarter of the National Library.

The Palazzo Reale was built in 1600 and reached its actual appearance in 1858: to its construction and successive restoration works participated architects like Domenico Fontana, Gaetano Genovese, Luigi Vanvitelli, Ferdinando Sanfelice e Francesco Antonio Picchiatti.

Lungomare of Naples Route: SAN CARLO THEATER

The San Carlo Theater is situated near Piazza del Plebiscito (Plebiscite Square) and belong to the same complex of the Palazzo Reale of Naples.

It is considered as the Italian lyrical temple as well as the first lyrical theatre of Europe and of the world. Built on the 4th November 1737, for the will of the King Carlo III di Borbone (Charles III of Bourbon) right in occasion of the reckoning of the King. Hence, the name San Carlo.

For the King the theater should exalt the power of his kingdom and the status of Naples as the European Capital City. The initial project of the theater was commissioned to the architect G.A.Medrano. Medrano provided the first structure of the theater with 1379 seats. During the first years of the Neapolitan theater, under the direction of Casarale nicknamed “the Miracle Man”, the San Carlo used to host on its stage artists of caliber like Domenico Sarro.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, with Gioacchino Murat the theater was directed from the entrepreneur Domenico Barbaja. In those years the great revival of the San Carlo took place, thanks to the architect Antonino Niccolini that in only two years gave to the theater the actual majestic look.

Some years after Niccolini will even direct the successive restoration works in 1817 after a great fire that burned the theater, reconfiguring the main indoor room with 2500 seats. Among the most famous artists who have walked the stage of the Neapolitan theater there are Paganini, Bellini, Verdi, Mercadante and many others.

Lungomare of Naples Route: PIAZZA DEL PLEBISCITO

Piazza del Plebiscito is a large public square in central Naples, situated at the end of Via Toledo, just overstepped Piazza Trieste e Trento.

Located in the Historic Centre of the city between the seafront and Via Toledo, Piazza del Plebiscito has a 25000 mq surface and it is presented as one of the largest squares of the city and of Italy: for this reason this square is one of the best place for the major events.

We can metaphorically divide Piazza del Plebiscito in two distinct parts: the first one starts at the base of the basilica and it follows a semicircular conformation, while the second one – below the hemicycle closure axis – has a rectangular shape given by the curtains of the Twin Palaces along the short sides and by the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) profile along the long side.

In the middle of the square there are two equestrian statues representing Carlo III di Borbone (Charles III of Bourbon) and his son Ferdinando I.

Once in the square for the Neapolitans it is a must to challenge themselves in crossing blindfolded the square starting from the entrance of the Palazzo Reale: the first who can reach the centre of the equestrian statues wins the challenge and everlasting fortune. Obviously, without cheating!

Lungomare of Naples Route: ROYAL PONTIFICAL BASILICA SAN FRANCESCO DI PAOLA

The Royal Pontifical Basilica San Francesco di Paola is located at the west side of Piazza del Plebiscito. It is considered as one of the most important examples of neoclassical architecture in Italy.

The starting project belongs to Gioacchino Murat, who was the King of Naples in 1808, and he wanted to requalify the peripheral area of the historic center that was disreputable at that time. The chosen project, named Gran Foro Gioacchino, proposed the edification of an arcade with a hall in the middle thought to be used as headquarter for popular meetings. But this project did not fulfil because Murat was dethroned by the bourbon Ferdinando I of the two Sicilies, who decided to convert the final product into the church, and he dedicated it to Saint Francis of Paola that had interceded the reinstatement of the Bourbon Kingdom.

Ferdinando I decided to build a majestic Church positioned in the middle of the arcade with the explicit request that the height of the dome did not exceed the height of the Royal Palace situated in front of it.

The works of Church finished in 1846 and it reflects the neoclassical style, it is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome.

The Basilica San Francesco di Paola overlooks the square, embracing it with its 34 majestic columns. To enter you walk on a staircase made of precious marble from Carrara.
Insidethere is the greater altar that it was designed by Ferdinando Fuga in 1751 and, it is realized in porphyry and beautify with lapis lazuli and agate and on its sides there are two columns of Egyptian breach, moreover  you can also find a canvas from Luca Giordano.

Lungomare of Naples Route: CASTEL DELL’OVO

Castel dell’Ovo: from the Latin Castrum Ovi, the castle’s name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who put a egg into the foundations to support the fortifications of Megaride’s islet. If this egg had been broken both the castle would have been destroyed and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed.

Castel dell’Ovo is the most ancient and evocative castle of the city that stands out from the sea and overlooks the entire marina, in front of Lungomare of Naples.

There are copious sequences of events which belong both this place and aristocrat families that used to lived in, leaving legends and historical frames.

In this free-entry marvelous location, there are lots of contemporary and classic art exhibitions, and during the Christmas season you can admire handmade nativity scenes of the Neapolitan artists. Art and fashion events are organized in the evening, thanks to the beauty of the castle and its breathtaking view.

Lungomare of Naples Route: BORGO MARINARI

The village of Borgo Marinari arises upon the suggestive islet of Megaride, close to Castel dell’Ovo.

Here, life is bonded to fishermen’s activities in the marina until the nightfall, where people enjoy themselves by renowned restaurants and bars.

Borgo Marinari is a really romantic place to be with its suffosed lights, ancient village and moreover its view is breathtaking, so it is a perfect place to spend a great and peaceful at night through music and candlelight.

There are lots of restaurants where you can have dinner near the boats.

The breeze and the sound of the sea breaking on the rocks makes the stroll so extraordinary that you should not lose, especially of those who are in love. It’s a magical place where you can feel the true essence of Naples.

Lungomare of Naples Route: VIA PARTENOPE

Via Partenope is a pedestrian area that is considered the extension of Via Caracciolo: a passage runs along the seafront and it offers people Via Partenope is a pedestrian area that is considered the extension of Via Caracciolo: a passage runs along the seafront and it offers people a beauty view of all the gulf and various type of restaurants, from sushi to pizza.

It is a marvellous place both during the day and at the night, you can admire Castel dell’Ovo and after lunch or dinner you can have a walk to enjoy the typical Neapolitan musicians and their songs that makes Via Partenope one of the most romantic place of the city.

It is a place full of colours and life, according to Neapolitans it is one of the unmissable destinations of the city, where the traditions of Naples meets other foreign culture.

In addition, here, people can find some of the most luxury hotel of the city, with rooftops that give the opportunity to admire the entire city and his gulf.

Just behind from Via Partenope there is Santa Lucia district, with his typical narrow streets and suffused lights, where you can find many characteristic restaurants, pubs and clubs that satisfy all your needs.

Lungomare of Naples Route: VILLA COMUNALE

The Villa Comunale was built in 1780, thanks to the King Ferdinando IV the Bourbon.

It expands more than 1 km from Piazza della Vittoria to Piazza della Repubblica, and it divides the Chiaia coastline from the promenade of Via Caracciolo.

The King thought about the villa as an exclusive place where the aristocracy could have long and relaxed strolls, indeed common people were not allowed to enter there.

Later, the tree-lined avenues have been embellished with neoclassical sculptures, fountains and little temples like the circular one in honor of Torquato Tasso, that was a neoclassical installation by Stefano Gasse,  which presents Tasso’s bust by the sculptor Tito Angelini; inside of the Virgilio temple there is a herm of the poet; moreover people can admire the Casina Pompeiana that was built in 1870 as a view exposition of the archaeological excavation of Pompei.

In 1860, during the Italian Unification, the Villa Comunale was opened to everybody, and it was called “Villa Nazionale”. But throughout the Second World War the villa was used as an encampment for the German troops settled in Naples and for this reason the villa suffered many damages due to the allied bombardments. After many years of hard work of restoration, the Villa Comunale obtained the actual look.

Inside the Villa Comunale you can find the Press Association and the Anton Dohrn’s zoological station that host the oldest Europe aquarium. Nowadays the Villa overlooks the so-called “lungomare liberato”(Lungomare of Naples), which is a relaxing zone for tourists and families that have the opportunity to ride their bicycles or to rent a rickshaw in order to enjoy the extraordinary view of the Gulf of Naples.

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