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The district of San Ferdinando, like an ancient village in the heart of ancient Naples

Wednesday 27 june 2018

The monumental center of ancient Naples, between art treasures and historic cafes, between Piazza del Plebiscito and Palazzo Reale, from Castel Nuovo to the Teatro San Carlo, from Galleria Umberto I to Gran Caffè Gambrinus, among alleys, squares, shops an

The district of San Ferdinando, like an ancient village in the heart of ancient Naples

It overlooks the Gulf of Naples and is one of its most evocative areas.

Like an ancient village in the heart of the old city, San Ferdinando, the oldest district of the capital of Campania, lies between those of Chiaia, in the area towards the sea, Montecalvario towards the center, and in the upper part towards the Vomero.

A tangle of streets and characteristic alleys, squares and squares, shops and shops, cafes and clubs, pizzerias and restaurants.

In every corner you can breathe the typical air of the most picturesque and suggestive Naples, the one that overlooks the waterfront up to Piazza Vittoria, which reaches Piazza Municipio going down to Trinità degli Spagnoli up to the vital and worldly Via Toledo.

Fortified in the Aragonese period, the area was populated with noble residences between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Buildings that, even today, strongly characterize the district that has in Piazza del Plebiscito, among the largest and most important squares in Italy, its heart, an extraordinary amphitheater between via Toledo and the promenade, embellished by the Royal Pontifical Basilica of St. Francis of Paola and the spectacular colonnade.

Gran Caffè Gambrinus
Photo from

The cultural heart of the city, where various museums and theaters are located, as well as cultural and artistic activities, San Ferdinando is also the Gran Caffè Gambrinus area, the historic local of Italy, the Neapolitan literary salon and the heart of city life since the end of the 'Nineteenth century, but also the Salone Margherita, cafè-chantant of the center, as well as the Real Teatro San Carlo, one of the most famous and prestigious opera houses in the world and once a symbol of Naples that emphasized its European prestige.

Teatro San Carlo
Foto da

San Ferdinando, however, is also that of the Mercadante theater and of the Politeama, the Sannazzaro theater and the Augusteo and of many museums including the Museo del Corallo, where it is possible to retrace its history and work, including documents and significant creations, the splendid Palazzo Reale, historical residence of the Spanish viceroys for half a century, built starting in the 1600s and which reached its final appearance after the mid-nineteenth century, the Civic Museum of Castel Nuovo, with the beautiful Palatina chapel, the Armeria hall and the precious collections of sculptures, objects and paintings from the Middle Ages and late nineteenth century, and the Museum Galleries of Palazzo Zevallos, which contain the precious paintings of the Neapolitan seventeenth century, those of the school of Posillipo and Resina and the sculptures and drawings in pencil and charcoal of Vincenzo Gemito.

Chiesa di san Ferdinando
Foto from WikiCommons

Then many churches including the Basilica of Santa Lucia a Mare, the church of Nunziatella, the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Pizzofalcone, that of Santa Maria della Catena and that of the Holy Trinity of the Spaniards.

Then other historic buildings such as Palazzo Calabritto, Palazzo Barbaja, Palazzo Capua and Palazzo Cellamare and two castles; Castel dell'Ovo, the oldest in Naples, particularly evocative in the gulf scenery, where events, conventions and exhibitions take place, and at the base of which stands the tourist harbor of the "Borgo Marinari", the historical seat of some of the nautical clubs Neapolitans, and Castel Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino, one of the Neapolitan symbols, medieval and Renaissance castle with an irregularly trapezoidal plan, defended by five large cylindrical towers, four of which covered with piperno and one in tuff, crowned with merlons on corbels.

The authentic living room of the area is the Galleria Umberto I, a majestic architectural treasure erected in just three years, between 1887 and 1890, raised to give the city center a space to walk sheltered from the elements.

Piazza Plebiscito
Photo from

It is right between the Galleria Umberto I, Piazza del Plebiscito, Via Toledo and the gulf that Naples enchants and captures those who grant the beauty and the unmissable atmosphere, as enchanting is a stop in one of its typical pizzerias to enjoy the classic pizza, choosing strictly between the marinara, with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, and the margherita, with tomato, mozzarella di bufala bell in cubes or fiordilatte, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

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