Naples - Encyclopedia

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NAPLES (Ital. Napoli, and Lat. Neapolis), formerly the capital of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and since 1860 the chief town of the province which bears its name, the smallest province in the kingdom of Italy. It is the largest city in the country, containing 547,503 inhabitants in 1901. It is a prefecture; the see of a cardinal archbishop; the residence of the general commanding the tenth Army Corps and of the admiral commanding the second Naval Department of Italy; and it possesses also an ancient and important university.

Naples disputes with Constantinople the claim of occupying the most beautiful site in Europe. It is situated on the northern shore of the Bay of Naples (Sinus Cumanus), in 40° 52' N., 1 4° 1 5' 45" E., as taken from the lighthouse on the mole. By rail it is distant 151 m. from Rome, but the line is circuitous, and a direct electric line was contemplated in 1907, to run nearer the coast and shorten the distance from the capital by more than 30 m. (For map, see Italy.) The circuit of the bay is about 35 m. from the capo di Miseno on the north-west to the Punta della Campanella on the south-east, or more than 52 m. if the islands of Ischia, at the north-west, and of Capri, at the south entrance, be included. At its opening between these two islands it is 14 m. broad; while another 4 m. separates Capri from the mainland at the Punta della Campanella, and from the opening to its head at Portici the distance is 15 m. It affords good anchorage, with nearly 7 fathoms of water, and is well sheltered, except from winds which blow from points between south-east and south-west. In the latter winds Sorrento should be especially avoided, as no safe anchorage can be found there at less than 15 fathoms, and the same remark applies to Capri with winds from S.W. to N.W. There is a perceptible tide of nearly 9 in.

On the north-east shore east of Naples is an extensive flat, forming part of the ancient Campania Felix, and watered by the small stream Sebeto and by the Sarno, which last in classical times formed the port of Pompeii. From this flat, between the sea and the range of the Apennines, rises Mount Vesuvius, at the base of which, on or near the sea-shore, are the populous villages of San Giovanni Teduccio, Portici, Resina, Torre del Greco, Torre dell' Annunziata, &c., and the classic sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii. At the south-east extremity of the plain, 3 m. beyond the outlet of the Sarno, a great offshoot of the Apennines, branching from the main range near Cava, and projecting as a peninsula more than 12 m. west, divides the Bay of Naples from the bay of Salerno (Sinus Paestanus), and ends in the bold promontory of the Punta della Campanella (Promontorium Minervae), which is separated by a strait of 4 m. from Capri. On the north slope of this peninsula, where the plain ends and the coast abruptly bends to the west, stands the town of Castellammare, near the site of Stabiae, at the foot of Monte Sant' Angelo, which rises suddenly from the sea to a height of 4722 ft. Farther west, and nearly opposite to Naples across the bay, are Vico, Meta, Sorrento, Massa and many villages.

The north-west shore to the west of Naples is more broken and irregular. The promontory of Posilipo, which projects due south, divides this part of the bay into two smaller bays - the eastern, with the city of Naples, and the western, or Bay of Baiae, which is sheltered from all winds. A tunnel through the promontory, 2244 ft. long, 21 ft. broad, and in some places as much as 70 ft. high, possibly constructed by Marcus Agrippa in 27 B.C., forms the so-called grotto of Posilipo; at the Naples end stands the reputed tomb of Virgil. Beyond Posilipo is the small island of Nisida (Nesis); and at a short distance inland are the extinct craters of Solfatara and Astroni and the lake of Agnano. Farther west, on the coast, and provided with a convenient harbour, stands Pozzuoli (Puteoli), a city containing many Roman remains, but now chiefly remarkable for the large gunworks erected by Messrs Armstrong & Co.; and beyond it, round the Bay of Baiae, are Monte Nuovo, a hill thrown up in a single night in September 1538; the classic site of Baiae; the Lucrine Lake; Lake Avernus; the Lake of Fusaro (Acherusia Palus); the Elysian t Fields; and the port and promontory of Misenum. Still farther to the south-west lie the islands of Procida (Prochyta) and Ischia (Pithecusa, Aenaria or Inarime), which divide the Bay of Naples from the extensive Bay of Gaeta. All this country was comprised in classical times under the title of the Phlegrean Fields, and was certainly then more actively volcanic than it now is, although the severe shock of earthquake which occurred in the island of Ischia in 1883 completely destroyed Casamicciola, and did serious damage to Forio, Lacco Ameno and Serrara Fontana, shows that there is great seismic activity in the locality. The whole region abounds with fissures from which steam highly charged with hydrochloric acid is continually issuing, and in many places boiling water is found at a very few feet below the surface.

The city of Naples is built at the base and on the slopes of a range of volcanic hills, and, rising from the shore like an amphitheatre, is seen to best advantage from the sea. From the summit occupied by the castle of St Elmo a transverse ridge runs south to form the promontory of Pizzofalcone, and divides the city into two natural crescents. The western crescent, known as the Chiaja ward, though merely a long narrow strip between the sea and Vomero hill, is the fashionable quarter most frequented by foreign residents and visitors. A fine broad street, the Riviera di Chiaja, begun in the close of the 16th century by Count d'Olivares, and completed by the duke de Medina Celi (1695-1700), runs for a mile and a half from east to west, ending in the quarter of Mergellina and Piedigrotta at the foot of the hill of Posilipo. In front lie the Villa Communale (first called Reale and subsequently Nazionale) public gardens, the chief promenade of the city, which were first laid out in 1780, and have been successively extended in 1807, in 1834, and again in recent years; and the whole edge of the bay from the Castel dell' Ovo to Mergellina is lined by a massive embankment and carriageway, the Via Caracciolo, constructed in 1875-1881. The eastern crescent includes by far the largest as well as the oldest portion of Naples - the ports, the arsenal, the principal churches, &c. The best-known thoroughfare is the historic Toledo (as it is still popularly called, though the official name is Via Roma) which runs almost due north from the Piazza (Largo) del Plebiscito in front of the Palazzo Reale, till, as Strada Nuova Di Capodimonte, crossing the Ponte della Sanita (constructed by Murat across the valley between Santa Teresa and Capodimonte), it reaches the gates of the Capodimonte palace. A drive, the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, winds along the slopes behind the city from the Str. di Piedigrotta (at the west end of the Riv. di Chiaja) till it reaches the museum by the Via Salvator Rosa. The character of the shore of the eastern crescent has been much altered by the new harbour works, which with the wharves and warehouses have absorbed the Villa del Popolo, or People's Park, originally constructed on land reclaimed from the bay.

The streets of Naples are generally well-paved with large blocks of lava or volcanic basalt. In the older districts there is a countless variety of narrow gloomy streets, many of them steep. The houses are mostly five or six storeys high, are covered with stucco made of a kind of pozzolana which hardens by exposure, and have large balconies and flat roofs. The castle of S. Elmo (S. Ermo, S. Erasmus), which dominates the whole city, had its origin in a fort (Belforte) erected by King Robert the Wise in 1343. The present building, with its rock-hewn fosses and massive ramparts, was constructed by Don Pedro de Toledo at the command of Charles V. in 1535, and was long considered practically impregnable. Damaged by lightning in 1857, it was afterwards restored, and is now a military prison. On a small island (I. del Salvatore, the Megaris of Pliny), now joined to the shore at the foot of the Pizzofalcone by an archsupported causeway, stands the Castel dell' Ovo (so called from its shape, though medieval legend associates the name with the enchanted egg on which the magician Virgil made the safety of the city to depend), which dates from 1154. The walls of its chapel were frescoed by Giotto; but the whole building was ruined by, Ferdinand II. in 1495, and had to be restored in the 16th century. Castel Nuovo, a very picturesque building constructed near the harbour in 1283 by Charles I. of Anjou, contains between the round towers of its facade the triumphal arch erected in 1470 to Alphonso I. and renovated in 1905. It numbers among its chambers the Gothic hall of Giovanni Pisano in which Celestine V. abdicated the papal dignity. Castel del Carmine, founded by Ferdinand I. in 1484, was occupied by the populace in Masaniello's insurrection, was used as a prison for the patriots of 1796, became municipal property in 1878, and is now a prison. The royal palace, begun in 1600 by the Count de Lemos, from designs by Domenico Fontana, partly burned in 1837, and since repaired and enlarged by Ferdinand II., is an enormous building with a sea frontage of Boo ft. and a main facade 554 ft. long and 95 ft. high, exhibiting the Doric, Ionic and Composite orders in its three storeys. The statues on the façade of the palace were erected by King Humbert I. in 1885, and represent the titular heads of the various dynasties which have reigned at Naples, beginning with Ruggiero the Norman (1130); followed by Frederick II. of Suabia (1197); Charles I. of Anjou (1266); Alfonso of Aragon (1442); Charles V. of Spain (1527); Charles III. (Bourbon) of Naples (1744); Gioacchino Murat (1808); and Victor Emmanuel II. (1861).

Naples is the see of a Roman Catholic archbishop, always a cardinal. The cathedral has a chapter of thirty canons, and of the numerous religious houses formerly existing very few have in whole or in part survived the suppression in 1868. The city is divided into fifty parishes purely for ecclesiastical purposes, and there are 237 Roman Catholic churches and 57 chapels.

Most of the churches are remarkable rather for richness in internal decoration than for architectural beauty. The cathedral of St Januarius, occupying the site of temples of Apollo and Neptune, and still containing some of their original granite columns, was designed by Nicola Pisano, and erected between 1272 and 1316. Owing to frequent restorations occasioned by earthquakes, it now presents an incongruous mixture of different styles. The general plan is that of a basilica with a nave and two (Gothic vaulted) aisles separated by pilasters. The western façade is of marble and was completed in 1906. Beneath the high altar is a subterranean chapel containing the tomb of St Januarius (San Gennaro), the patron saint of the city; in the right aisle there is a chapel (Cappella del Tesoro) built between 1608 and 1637 in popular recognition of his having saved Naples in 1527 " from famine, war, plague and the fire of Vesuvius "; and in a silver tabernacle behind the high altar of this chapel are preserved the two phials partially filled with his blood, the periodical liquefaction of which forms a prominent feature in the religious life of the city. Accessible by a door in the left aisle of the cathedral is the church of Sta Restituta, a basilica of the 7th century, and the original cathedral. Santa Chiara (14th century) is interesting for a fresco ascribed to Giotto (at one time there were many more), and monuments to Robert the Wise, his queen Mary of Valois and his daughter Mary, empress of Constantinople. San Domenico Maggiore, founded by Charles II. in. 1285, but completely restored after 1445, has an effective interior particularly rich in Renaissance sculpture. In the neighbouring monastery is shown the cell of Thomas Aquinas. San Filippo Neri or dei Gerolomini, erected in the close of the 16th century, has a white marble façade and two campaniles, and contains the tombstone of Giambattista Vico. Sta Maria del Parto, in the Chiaja, occupies the site of the house of Sannazaro, and is named after his poem De Partu Virginis. San Francesco di Paolo, opposite the royal palace, is an imitation of the Pantheon at Rome by Pietro Bianchi di Lugano (1815-1837), and its dome is one of the boldest in Europe. The church of the Certosa (Carthusian monastery) of San Martino, on the hill below St Elmo's castle, has now become in name, as so many of the churches are in reality, a museum. Dating from the 14th century, and restored by Fonsega in the 17th, it is a building of extraordinary richness of decoration, with paintings and sculpture by Guido Reni, Lanfranco, Caravaggio, D'Arpino, Solimene, Luca Giordano and notably a " Descent from the Cross " by Ribera, conconsidered the finest work of this master. The monastery has been transformed into a medieval museum, where many specimens illustrating the modern history of Naples may be studied, and some fine specimens of majolica from the southern provinces can be inspected. The view from the south-western balcony is incomparable. The marble cloister by Fonsega, though rather flamboyant in character, is one of the finest of its kind in existence. Other churches with interesting monuments are Sant' Anna dei Lombardi, built in 1411 by Guerrello Origlia, which contains some splendid marble sculpture, especially Rosellino's " Nativity " in the Cappella Piccolomini; Sant' Angelo a Nilo, which contains the tomb of Cardinal Brancaccio, the joint work of Donatello and Michelozzo; San Giovanni a Carbonara, built in 1344 and enlarged by King Ladislaus in 1400, which contains among much other remarkable sculpture the tomb of the king, the masterpiece of Andrea Ciccione (1414), and that of Sergiami Caracciolo, the favourite of Joanna II., who was murdered in 1432 (the chapel in which it stands is paved with one of the earliest majolica pavements in Italy); San Lorenzo (1324), the Royal Church of the House of Anjou; and, for purely archaeological interest, the Church of Sant' Aspreno, thought to be the oldest Christian church in Italy, in the crypt of the new Borsa or exchange. Persons interested in frescoes will admire those in the former monastery at the back of the church of S. Maria Donna Regina and those in the cloister of S. Severino and Sossio. A more ancient Christian monument than any of the convents or churches is the catacombs, which extend a great distance underground and are in many respects finer than those at Rome. The entrance is at the Ospizio dei Poveri di San Gennaro (see Schulze's monograph, Jena, 1877).

Of the secular institutions in Naples none is more remarkable than the National Museum, formerly known as the Museo Borbonico. The building, begun in 1586 for vice-regal stables, and remodelled in 1615 for the university, was put to its present use in 1790, when Ferdinand IV. proclaimed it his private property independently of the crown, placed in it the Farnese collection which he had inherited from his father, and all the specimens from Herculaneum, Pompeii, Stabiae, Puteoli, Paestum, &c., which till then had been housed in the palace at Portici, and gave it the name of Real Museo Borbonico. In 1860 Garibaldi, when dictator at Naples, proclaimed the museum and the territory devoted to excavation to be the property of the nation, since which time it has been called the National Museum. Vast numbers of specimens have since been added to it both by purchase and from excavations, and it is now unique as a treasure house of Italo-Greek and Roman antiquities, besides containing a fine library and an important collection of pictures.

A large additional space for exhibits was made in 1904, when the western half of the second floor was added, and the building as now arranged contains the large bronzes and statues on the ground floor; a gallery of Pompeian frescoes in the entresol; the library, picture gallery and small bronzes on the first floor; and the glass, jewelry, arms, papyri, gems, and the unique collection of ItaloGreek vases, on the second floor. The large bronzes are almost the only ones which have survived from classical times, the most famous of them being the seated Mercury and the dancing Faun; the marbles reckon among their vast number the Psyche, the Capuan Venus, the portraits of Homer and Julius Caesar, as well as the huge group called the Toro Farnese (Amphion and Zethus tying Dirce to its horns), the Farnese Hercules, the excellent though late statues of the Balbi on horseback and a very fine collection of ancient portrait busts.

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Modern Buildings

The Galleria Umberto I. is a large cruciform arcade opened in 18 9 o. It somewhat resembles the Milan arcade, and has an octagon in the centre, with a cupola. It is highly ornamented with gilt and stucco. A music-hall occupies the basement. The Galleria Principe di Napoli is in a smaller arcade opposite to the National Museum, mainly occupied by shops where reproductions from the museum are sold. The Galleria Vittoria, opened in 1907, is a circular building with handsome dome, situated near the main entrance of the Villa Communale. It is in great part occupied by offices and shops. The Anglican church in Vico San Pasquale was built in 1862 on ground given to the British community by Garibaldi when dictator, and was the first Protestant church erected in Naples. Since the granting of religious liberty evangelical churches have been built by the Presbyterians, Wesleyans, French, Germans and Italians. A Greek church and a Jewish synagogue have also been opened. The Borsa (or exchange) is a fine building in the Piazza of the same name, built over the remains of the very ancient church of Sant' Aspreno, which are still preserved in the crypt. In front of it is the fine 16th-century Fontana Medina. Educational and Learned Institutions. - The university of Naples is one of the oldest in Italy, having been founded by Frederick II. in the first half of the 13th century. It had fallen to insignificance under the Bourbons, but since 1860 it has rapidly recovered. It comprises five faculties (literature and philosophy, jurisprudence, mathematics, natural science and medicine), and is well equipped with zoological, mineralogical and geological museums, a physiological institute, a cabinet of anthropology, and botanical gardens. Originally erected in 1557 for the use of the Jesuits, the university buildings are regarded as the best work of Marco di Pino; the quadrangle, surrounded by a simple but effective peristyle, contains statues of Pietro della Vigna (Frederick's chancellor), Thomas Aquinas and Giordano Bruno. The new building, the shell of which was completed in 1906, faces the Rettifilo, a new wide street which leads from the Borsa in a straight line to the railway station; at the back it joins the former building, which is at a higher level. On the other or north side of the ancient building, and at the back of the Strada Constantinopoli, very large annexes have been formed for the medical school. The famous zoological station at Naples, whose aquarium is the principal building in the Villa Communale, is not connected with the university. It was founded by Dr Dohrn in 1872; a large annexe was added to it a few years later on its western side, and a larger annexe on the eastern side was completed in 1907. The aquarium was originally established at Naples because the flora and fauna of the neighbourhood are more varied than those of any district in Europe. Its Mittheilungen began to be published in 1878, and portions of a great work on the flora and fauna of Naples come out year by year. It is justly considered the first as well as the oldest of the zoological stations of the world, and the chief universities pay £ioo a year for tables to which they send students. At these tables every necessary is provided, each student having his own tanks with salt water laid on for keeping his specimens, and all necessary chemicals being provided. Of other scientific institutions we may mention the observatory on Vesuvius, which is supported entirely by funds from the government, but is annexed informally to the university. Its object is to record earth-movements and volcanic phenomena. The Specola or astronomical observatory is also a government institution, and forms no official part of the university. It is situated on the hill of Capodimonte.

The Royal Society of Naples, dating from 1756, was reconstituted in 1861, and is divided into three academies, namely: moral and political; physical and mathematical; letters, archaeology and fine arts. The famous Accademia Pontaniana, founded by Antonio Becardella (surnamed Panormita owing to his origin from Palermo) and J. J. Pontanus in 1442, was restored in 1808 and still exists. The Royal School for Oriental Languages owes its existence to Matteo Ripa,who in 1732 established a school for Chinese missionaries. The Royal Conservatory of Music in S. Pietro a Majella has existed in one form or other since 1760, and has had many famous pupils.

Elementary education has proceeded with great rapidity, and there are ninety public elementary shools in the city, twenty-three ecclesiastical gratuitous schools and many evangelical schools at a very small payment. The higher grade schools are also numerous, and there are special foreign schools established by private enterprise for the education of the children of foreign residents. There are three schools for the blind and two for deaf-mutes.


The state archives in Vico San Severo e Sossio contain all the records of past governments; the Notarial archives in Via San Paolo contain all the original notarial acts from 1450 onwards, to the number of 800,000. The Royal national library in the building of the national museum contains 364,000 volumes and 7835 manuscripts, many of which are of great value. The musical archives are kept here as a separate department. The Royal library of San Giacomo (roo,000 vols.) had its origin in the Palace library of the Bourbon times. There may also be mentioned the Royal University library, the Royal Brancacciana library in Via Donnaromita, with 125,000 vols. and 2000 important MSS., the Gerolomini library, mainly of ecclesiastical books and codices, and the Provincial library in Via Duomo, consisting mainly of technical books. The Biblioteca Communale, and the rich collection of seismic and vulcanological books made by the Italian Alpine Club, are both in charge of the Societa di Storia Patria. This literary society was established in 1875, by a committee of private gentlemen anxious to record all possible details of the history of the locality. It has a good though not perfect collection of the early Neapolitan newspapers, a complete file of the principal modern ones and many interesting MSS. The society is governed by a council of literary men, and issues publications from time to time. The Zoological Station or Aquarium has a very fine biological library.


The San Carlo opera-house, with its area of 5157 sq. yds. and its pit capable of seating l000 spectators. is one of the largest in Europe. It was originally built in 1737 under Charles III., but was destroyed by fire in 1816 and completely rebuilt. It was heavily subsidized in the Bourbon times, but now, except for giving the house, which is the property of the municipality, no assistance is granted from the public funds. The Mercadante is also a municipal theatre, but has no subsidy. The Bellini is a fine opera-house near the museum, and the other chief theatres are the Sannazzaro, Politeama and Fiorentini. Numerous music halls have sprung up of late years, of which the principal is the Salone Margherita in the basement of the Galleria Umberto Primo.


Charitable institutions are numerous in Naples. The Reclusorio or poorhouse was founded in the r8th century, and besides being a refuge for the indigent poor has a series of industrial schools attached, at which foundling boys are educated and taught trades. The principal hospitals are the Incurabili, Gesu e Maria, Santa Maria della Pace and a hospital for poor priests, which are all under the same management. The Pellegrini is exclusively surgical; the Santa Maria di Loreto is especially for the inmates of the Reclusorio and for street accidents; the Ospedale Lina for children; and the Ospedale Cotugno for infectious diseases. There is also an International hospital for the treatment of others than Italians, which was built by Lady Harriet Bentinck and is managed by an international committee; a German hospital; and a hospital erected by the representatives of Baron Adolphe de Rothschild. There are two public lunatic asylums in the city, and another at the neighbouring town of Aversa; and many private asylums, among which Fleurent, Miano and Ponti Rossi may be mentioned.


At a very early date the original harbour at Naples, now known in its greatly reduced state as Porto Piccolo, and fit only for boats and lighters, became too small. In 1302 Charles II. of Anjou began the construction of the Porto Grande by forming the Molo Grande or San Gennaro, which stretched eastward into the bay, and was terminated by a lighthouse in the r5th century. By the addition of a new pier running north-east from the lighthouse, and protected by a heavily armed battery, Charles III. in 1740 added greatly to the safety of the harbour. In 1826 the open area to the south of the Porto Grande was formed into the Porto Militare by the construction of the Molo San Vincenzo, 1200 ft. long. Shortly after the formation of the new kingdom of Italy attention was called to the insufficiency of the harbour for modern wants; and new works were begun in 1862. Besides the lengthening of the Molo San Vincenzo to a total of more than 5000 ft., the scheme as now carried out has completely revolutionized the harbour. A cross piece at the end of the Molo San Vincenzo has made the head of that structure into the form of the Greek letter gamma, thus affording considerable protection to the anchorage. New quays have been made all the way from the old Immacolatella landing-place to the new and spacious Capitaneria di Porto, on the eastern side of which is a new harbour used mainly for the coal trade, and piers such that the largest liner can lie alongside the jetty. The outer mole of this harbour runs out from the Castel del Carmine towards the south for some 1500 ft. and forms the inner side of the new steam basin, which when nearly completed in 1906 fell in on the farther side, and had to be reconstructed. The depth of this new harbour is from 25 to 30 ft. There are two projecting moles, one to the inner harbour and the second to the steam basin. In 1905 the total tonnage entering the port amounted to 4,698,872 tons, of which the Italians (including their coasting trade) carried 1,410,192 tons in 3687 vessels; the Germans 1,391,585 tons in 356 vessels; the British 1,136,345 tons in 402 vessels; and the French 245,206 tons in 161 vessels. Naples is the principal port for emigration, chiefly to North and South America; 281 emigrant ships sailed in 1905, carrying 216,103 emigrants. The total imports for that year reached the sum of £5,397,918, and the exports £3,367,805. The articles dealt in are wine, oil, spirits, drugs, tobacco, chemicals, hemp, cotton, wool, silk, timber, paper, leather and hides, metal, glass, cereals and live animals. The largest export was to the United States (£864,562), the next to Great Britain (£701,387), while the largest imports were from Great Britain (£1,233,410) and the United States (£807,564). The specialities of Naples are the manufacture of coral, tortoise-shell, kid gloves and macaroni, but it has been growing also as an industrial centre. The port of Naples is second in the kingdom, and owns no rival save Genoa.

Water Supply. - Since 1884 Naples has had as fine a water supply as any city in Europe. It is derived from the hills in the neighbourhood of Avellino, and is thought to be the effluent of an underground lake. It rushes out from the hillside and is received in a covered masonry canal, whence it flows in large iron pipes till it reaches five enormous reservoirs constructed just opposite to the entrance gates of the royal palace at Capodimonte. Hence it comes by natural gravitation into the town at a pressure of five atmospheres, so that it supplies the highest parts of the town with abundant water. The water is so cold that in the hottest summer perishable articles can be preserved by merely securing them in a closed vessel and allowing the water to drip upon it. The supply was brought into the town just after the terrible cholera outbreak of 1884, and as each new standpipe was erected in the strt. is every well within 200 yds. of it was closed, so that in a short time no well remained in the town; and thus a fertile source of infection was eliminated. Every house in the town and suburbs is now supplied with a constant supply of pure water. The effect on the health of the city has been extraordinary. Cholera epidemics. which used to be frequent, have become things of the past, and there is now abundant water for public fountains, washing the streets and watering gardens both public and private. The old sewers were found quite inadequate to carry off the large increase of water, and besides they all led directly into the bay, causing a terrible odour and rendering the water near the town unwholesome for bathing. This has been remedied by a system of sewers, which after passing by a tunnel through the hill of Posilipo cross the plain beyond and discharge their contents into the open sea on the deserted coast of Cumae, 17 m. from the city of Naples. The old aqueduct, which was constructed in the 17th century by Carnignano and Criminelli and taps the Isclero at Sant' Agata dei Goti, is still available to a certain extent, but its water was never very wholesome, and as it was not laid on to houses but only supplied fountains and house cisterns which have since been filled up, no account need be taken of it. The solitary Leone fountain, a spring which supplied drinking water to the west end of the town, has been dry for many years.

Modern Growth. - Naples, the most densely peopled city in Europe, has increased in modern times at an enormous rate. Om the large areas reclaimed from the sea, vast hotels and mansions let in flats have been erected. The gardens at the west end of the town are all built over. The Vomero, once merely a scattered village, is now an important suburb, and a large workmen's quarter has sprung up beyond the railway station to house the populace which was turned out from the centre of the town when the works of the risanamento were undertaken. The increase in population between the census of 1881, when it was 461,962, and the census in 1901 was 85,521. The commune, which includes not only the urban districts (sezioni) of San Ferdinando, Chiaja, S. Giuseppe, Monte Calvario, Avvocata, Stella, San Carlo all' Arena, Vicaria, San Lorenzo, Mercato, Pendino and Porto, but also the suburban districts of Vomero, Posilipo, Fuorigrotta, Miano and Piscinola, has been built over in every direction, one great incentive being the creation of an industrial zone to the eastward of the city. This zone has been set aside for the purpose of industrial development, and all persons or companies who set up industrial concerns on it have grants of land at a nominal price, are free of taxes for ten years and have electric force supplied to them at a very low figure. The law came into force in 1906, and was immediately followed by the erection of a large number of factories, for spinning silk, cotton, jute and wool, and the making of railway plant, automobiles, the building of ships, and in fact almost every kind of industry. After the cholera epidemic of 1884, M. Depretis, then premier, visited Naples, and in the course of a public speech gave vent to the famous dictum " Bisogna sventrare Napoli "- " Naples must be disembowelled!" Plans were at once made to pull down all the worst slums, and as these lay between the centre of the town and the railway station, a wide street was constructed from the centre of the town to the eastward, and on each side of it wide strips of ground were cleared to afford building sites for shops and offices. The funds for this vast undertaking were found partly by the state, which voted £3,000,000, and as to the rest by the Risanamento Company, which had a capital of £1,200,000. Before beginning operations of demolition it was obviously necessary to provide homes for the poor people who would be turned out, and a large workingclass quarter was erected to the north and beyond the railway station. This quarter has wide airy streets and lofty houses, and though perhaps the houses were let at prices which were beyond the purses of the lowest class, the result of their erection was to cause a number of the poorer houses in the old town to be vacated, thus giving an opportunity to the lowest class to be at any rate better housed than they were before. The quarter described above is known as the Rione Vasto. There are also new middle-class quarters at Santa Lucia, Vomero Nuovo and Sant' Efremo, and better houses in the Via Sirignano, on the Riviera di Chiaja, Via Elena and Via Caracciolo at Mergellina, Via Partenope near the Chiatamone, and an aristocratic quarter in the large extensions made in the Rione Amedeo. The narrow alleys of Porto, Pendino and Mercato have nearly all disappeared, and old Naples has been vanishing day by day. One notable result of the widening of the streets has been the spread of the electric tramways, which traverse the town in various directions and are admirably served by a Belgian company. The city is mainly lighted by electricity, which has also found its way into all the public edifices and most private houses.


The attention of antiquarians to the charms against the Evil Eye used by the inhabitants of the Neapolitan provinces was first drawn in 1888, when it was shown that they were all derived from the survival of ancient classical legends which had sprung from various sources in connexion with classical sites in the neighbourhood. These may be divided into three classes: first, the sprig of rue in silver, with sundry emblems attached to it, all of which refer to the worship of Diana, whose shrine at Capua was of considerable importance; secondly, the serpent charms, which formed part of the worship of Aesculapius, and were no doubt derived largely from the ancient eastern ophiolatry; and lastly charms derived from the legends of the Sirens. A special confirmation is given in this case, as the Siren is represented mounted on her seahorse crossing the Styx upon the vase of Pluto and Proserpine in the collection of the Naples Museum. This vase dates about 250 B.C., and the Siren charms represent her in the same way, but usually mounted on two sea-horses. The sea-horse and the Siren alone are commonly found as charms; the Siren being sometimes in her fishtail form and sometimes in the form of a harpy.


All ancient writers agree in representing Naples as a Greek settlement, though its foundation is obscurely and differently narrated. The earliest Greek settlement in the neighbourhood was at Pithecusa (Ischia), but the colonists, being driven out of the island by the frequent earthquakes, settled on the mainland at Cumae, where they found a natural acropolis of great strategic value. From Cumae they colonized Dikearchia (Pozzuoli) and probably subsequently Palaeopolis. The site of Palaeopolis has given rise to much discussion, but the researches by R. T. Gunther open completely new ground, and seem to be the correct solution of the problem. He places Palaeopolis at Gaiola Point and has discovered the remains of the harbour, the town hall and various other rudiments of the ancient city. This site, moreover, corresponds with Livy's testimony, and would account for his statement that the towns of Palaeopolis and Neapolis were near together and identical in language and government. This opinion about the site of Palaeopolis has been based on the very considerable alterations which are known to have taken place in the level of the land, and the extensive submerged foundations of buildings off the southern extremity of Posilipo have been identified with those of the old city.

Parthenope, as well as Dikearchia, was formed as a new colony from Cumae, and was so called from a legendary connexion of the locality with the siren of that name, whose tomb was still shown in the time of Strabo. Parthenope was situated where Naples now stands, upon the splendid natural acropolis formed by the hill of Pizzofalcone, and defended on the land side by a fosse which is now the Strada di Chiaja, and a massive wall, of which remains may still be traced at the back of the existing houses. To the colonists of Parthenope there came afterwards a considerable addition from Athens and Chalcis, and they built themselves a town which they called Neapolis, or the " new city," in contradistinction to the old settlement, which in consequence was styled Palaeopolis or the " old city." The name of Parthenope became lost, and the city of Palaeopolis fell into gradual decadence.

In 328 B.C. the Palaeopolitans having provoked the hostility of Rome by their incursions upon her Campanian allies, the consul Publilius Philo marched against them, and having taken his position between the old and the new city, laid regular siege to Palaeopolis. By the aid of a strong Samnite garrison which they received, the Palaeopolitans were long able to withstand the attacks of the consul; but at length the city was betrayed into the hands of the Romans by two of her citizens. Neapolis possibly surrendered to the consul without any resistance, as it was received on favourable terms, had its liberties secured by a treaty, and obtained the chief authority, which previously seems to have been enjoyed by the older city. From that time Palaeopolis totally disappeared from history, and Neapolis became an allied city (foederata civitas) - a dependency of Rome, to whose alliance it remained constantly faithful, even in the most trying circumstances. In 280 B.C. Pyrrhus unsuccessfully attacked its walls; and in the Second Punic War Hannibal was deterred by their strength from attempting to make himself master of the town. During the civil wars of Marius and Sulla a body of partisans of the latter, having entered it by treachery (82 B.C.), made a general massacre of the inhabitants; but Neapolis soon recovered, as it was again a flourishing city in the time of Cicero. It became a municipium after the passing of the lex Julia; under the empire it is noticed as a colonia, but the time when it first obtained that rank is uncertain - possibly under Claudius.

Though a municipal town, Neapolis long retained its Greek culture and institutions; and even at the time of Strabo it had gymnasia and quinquennial games, and, was divided into phratriae after the Greek fashion. When the Romans became masters of the world, many of their upper classes, both before the close of the republic and under the empire, from a love of Greek manners and literature or from indolent and effeminate habits, resorted to Neapolis, either for the education and the cultivation of gymnastic exercises or for the enjoyment of music and of a soft and luxurious climate. Hence we find Neapolis variously styled - by Horace otiosa Neapolis, by Martial docta Parthenope, by Ovid in otia natam Parthenopen. It was the favourite residence of many of the emperors; Nero made his first appearance on the stage in one of its theatres; Titus assumed the office of its archon; and Hadrian became its demarch. It was chiefly at Neapolis that Virgil composed his Georgics; and he was buried on the hill of Pausilypus, the modern Posilipo, in its neighbourhood. It was also the favourite residence of the poets Statius (A.D. 61) and Silius Italicus (A.D. 25), the former of whom was a Neapolitan by birth.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Neapolis suffered severely during the Gothic wars. Having espoused the Gothic cause in the year 536, it was taken, after a protracted siege, by Belisarius, who turned aside an aqueduct, marched by surprise into the city through its channel, and put many of the inhabitants to the sword. In 542 Totila besieged it and compelled it to surrender, but being soon after recovered by Narses, it remained long a dependency of the exarchate of Ravenna, under the immediate government of a duke, appointed by the East Roman emperors.

When the Lombards invaded Italy and pushed their conquests in the southern provinces, the limits of the Neapolitan duchy were considerably narrowed. In the beginning of the 8th century, at the time of the iconoclastic controversy, the emperor Leo the Isaurian having forced compliance to his edict against the worshipping of images, the Neapolitans, encouraged by Pope Gregory III., threw off their allegiance to the Eastern emperors, and established a republican form of government under a duke of their own appointment. Under this regime Neapolis retained independence for nearly four hundred years, though constantly struggling against the powerful Lombard dukes of Benevento, who twice unsuccessfully besieged it. In 1027, however, Pandulf IV., a Lombard prince of Capua, succeeded in making himself master of it; but he was expelled in 1030 by Duke Sergius, chiefly through the aid of a few Norman adventurers. The Normans, in their turn, gradually superseded all powers, whether Greek, Lombard or republican, which had previously divided the south of Italy, and furthermore checked the Saracens in the advances they were making through Apulia.

From the date at which the south of Italy and Sicily were subjugated by the Normans the history of Naples ceases to be the history of a republic or a city, and becomes that of a kingdom, sometimes separate, sometimes merged, with the kingdom of Sicily, in that of the Two Sicilies. The city of Naples henceforth formed the metropolis of the kingdom to which it gave its name, owing this pre-eminence to its advantageous position on the side of Italy towards Sicily, and to the favour of successive princes (see Naples, Kingdom Of).


Ackerman, Naples and the Campagna Felice (1816); Craven, Tour through the Southern Provinces of Naples (1821); R. T. Gunther, Earth Movements in the Bay of Naples (Oxford, 1905); Rolfe and Ingleby, Naples in 1888 (London, 1888); Black, Naples in the Nineties (1897); Arthur Norway, Naples, Past and Present (London, 1901); Miss Jex Blake, The Elder Pliny's Chapters on the History of Art (London, 1896). (E. N.-R.)

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