Sites and tourist areas in Naples and Campania
Complesso di Santa Maria La Nova
To make a place for the Castel Nuovo, an ancient Franciscan church was destroyed. The angioinian sovereigns immediately constructed a new one in its place in the year of 1279, the S. Maria la Nova. It was redone in part in the 1500s by Agnolo Franco. Among the many works of art that the church contains are the gilded ceiling of 1598 along with paintings by Curia, Imparato, Santafede, Corenzio, Rodriguez and Malinconico; a real anthology of the late renaissance period of Naples. The high altar was made by Cosimo Fanzago, in front on the floor one can find the sepulchral tombstone of Giovanna, the wife of Ferrante (Fedinando I) of Aragona. To the left is the magnificent chapel of San Giovanni della Marca. It was restored in the 16th century under the order of Don Consalvo of Cordova who had chosen it as a sepulcher.
Duomo e Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro
The cathedral of Naples was built under the order of Carlo I of Angiò and was completed by Roberto d’Angiò. Often restored, it presents notable layers of different styles. The neogothic style, remade by Enrico Alvino at the end of the 1800’s, is represented by its current façade. The gothic entrance from 1407 by Tino di Camiano preserves the gothic entrance. The two lateral entrances are both done in the late gothic style.
Also of great interest is the baptismal font made of precious Egyptian marble.
The long walls of the central nave show the paintings of Luca Giordano; the lateral chapels contain works by Vaccaro, Perugino, Falcone, and Solimena. In the other parts of the gallery, there is the Cappella Minutolo with frescoes from the 1200s, and the Cappella Tocco with a fresco by Pietro Cavallini. A real jewel of the Renaissance is the so-called bones of San Gennaro wanted by the Cardinal Oliviero Carafa.
The Cappella del Tesoro (The Chapel of Treasure), voted by the Neapolitans as the patron saint because of the plague in 1526, is a baroque work by the architect Grimaldi. The entrance gate was made by Cosimo Fanzago. The chapel is covered by a dome with a fresco by Lanfranco. The inside of the chapel is the result of the best 17th century Neapolitan. The 51 silver statues of the compatroni of Naples are taken out in procession on the first Saturday of May as a “sacra scorta” (sacred glimpse) at San Gennaro’s beautiful things. The treasure consists of the very precious gifts of reigning Neapolitans and Europeans and the silver “mitra” of 1713 studded with diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
Also the flasks of San Gennaro’s blood and his skull are conserved in the Chapel. The blood liquefies twice a year, in May and then in September, renewing a wonder that has stumped scientists all over the world.
From the left nave, one can descend into the paleochristian Basilica of the Santa Restituta erected in the fourth century. Connected to the Basilica is the paleochristian baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte (363-409 A.D.), the oldest of the west because the Laterano is behind by around 30 years.
On the islet of Megaride the mermaid named Parthenope died. Here the Cumans disembarked their ships in the 6th century BC to found their city Partenope; here Lucullo had himself constructed an extravagant residence; here died Romolo Augustolo, the last Roman emperor of the West; and here finally, Roberto d’Angiò erected the castle. The last radical renovation was done by the Borbonians who conferred the current characteristics. From here the supporters of the Repubblica Partenopea of 1799 patriotically shelled at the city to frighten the habitants.
From the highest terrace, one can admire the view from one side of the city and from the other the long stretched out sea with Mount Vesuvius. Around the area is the Borgo Marinaro with many famous restaurants such as “Zi’ Teresa” and “La Bersagliera”.
The worst damage the island has had was the construction of Via Caracciolo, a seaside boardwalk, in 1884-1885. This construction was the first and among the most disastrous building speculations recorded history in Naples. The so-called “Risanamento” (Improvement) took away from the beauty of the castle and its surroundings because of real estate entrepreneurs and even people from Milan and Torino who greedily came down to take advantage of the new and blossoming building boom.
The name of the castle refers to a legend. The poet Virgilio had hidden a “magic egg,” given the magical powers to protect the city from any catastrophe. In the 1370, in response to the news that the egg had been smashed to pieces, Queen Giovanna d’Angiò was forced to declare that the egg had been replaced, that the magical powers had been reestablished, and that the loyal subjects had nothing more to fear.
Situated at the end of Via Tribunale, or Decumano maggiore, the Castel Capuano is the oldest of all Neapolitan Castles. It takes its name from the nearby Porta Capuana. It was constructed as a fortress for the Norman sovereign Guglielmo I said to be the “the bad one” around 1165. It underwent expansions and modifications first in part by Federico II of Svevia and then other works by the Angioinian kings that lived there only occasionally, preferring as a residence the newly built Castel Nuovo.
In this castle during the Angioinian period, Queen Giovanna II’s lover, Sergianni Caracciolo, was assassinated. Following that, Castel Nuovo was residence to the Aragonians. In the 16th century the Castel Capuano became the Palazzo Giustizia and imprisoned the Vicaria, under the order of the viceroy Pedro de Toledo.