The Piazza del Mercato is one of the most important squares in the history of Naples. It is here that in the 17th century a revolt against the Spanish viceroy began, and it is also here that between 1268 and 1800 all the public executions took place. The square is lined by four churches.
Piazza del Mercato Naples
History and description
What is now the Piazza Mercato was included within the city walls during the reign of the House of Anjou. It quickly developed into a marketplace where many artisans had their workshops. At the time it was called Foro Magno.
In the spot where the fountain now stands, the Anjou had Konradine of Hohenstaufen beheaded in 1268. The then only 16-year-old had tried to overthrow the House of Anjou. Konradine’s mother subsequently gave money to the Order of Carmelites to build the Santa Maria del Carmine Maggiore Basilica.
For locals, the square is of historical importance, since it is where Masaniello’s revolt began. The local-born Tommaso Aniello, as his real name was, was the leader of an uprising against new taxes proclaimed by the Spanish viceroy. He succeeded in getting many of his demands met, but would eventually be executed himself.
What to see
The Piazza del Mercato is sandwiched between four churches. These are the Sant’Eligio Maggiore Church, the baroque Santa Maria del Carmine Maggiore Basilica, the Santa Croce al Purgatorio Church and the San Giovanni Maggiore Basilica.
The square also features two fountain-obelisks.
A festival dedicated to the Madonna del Carmine takes place every year on July 15.
In recent years, the neighborhood has turned somewhat into a Muslim neighborhood. There are many Arab stores and a mosque is located just north of the square.