The San Ferdinando district is located in the center of Naples. It is one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods and is home to several famous landmarks. It is a picturesque jumble of streets and alleys, squares and plazas, with stores and cozy cafes, pizzerias and restaurants everywhere.
San Ferdinando district Naples
History and description
The San Ferdinando district, together with the districts of Chiaia and Posillipo form the Circoscrizione 05, which in turn is part of the Municipio 1. San Ferdinando is the oldest district of Naples and lies between Chiaia, Montecalvario and Vomero.
During the period Naples was ruled by the House of Aragon, what is now the San Ferdinando district was provided with defensive structures. This led to rich people moving in and building large mansions. These are still an important feature of the neighborhood.
What to see
Piazza del Plebiscito
The Piazza del Plebiscito is the center of the district. It is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in Italy and is located between the Via Toledo and the Lungomare. The former is the city’s most famous shopping street and the latter is a pedestrian street along the coastline.
The main attractions at Piazza del Plebiscito are the San Francesco di Paola Basilica, the Palazzo Reale and the impressive colonnade.
The district’s most famous building is the Palazzo Reale, which served as the residence of the Spanish viceroys. Although construction began in the 17th century, it was not completed until the mid-19th century.
The Palazzo Calabritto, the Palazzo Barbaja, the Palazzo Capua and the Palazzo Cellamare are some of the most famous historic buildings.
The Castel dell’Ovo is the oldest castle in Naples. Its beautiful location along the coast makes it even more attractive than it would be on its own. Today it is used for concerts, exhibitions and conventions. At the foot of this castle is the Borgo Marinari marina. Also known as Maschio Angioino, the Castel Nuovo is one of the city’s symbols. Five huge round towers ensured adequate defense of the monument.
At present, the Castel Nuovo is the seat of the Museo Civico (“City Museum”) of Naples. Highlights of the museum include the Cappella Palatina, the Sala del Armeria and the collection of sculptures, paintings and other objects. The collection covers the period between the Middle Ages and the 19th century. The Palazzo Zevallos exhibits 17th-century paintings, along with sculptures and drawings by Vincenzo Gemito. The Coral Museum (Museo del Corallo) highlights the history and technique of coral working.
Besides the already mentioned San Francesco di Paola Basilica, there are a number of beautiful churches in the district. The most famous are the Santa Lucia a Mare Basilica, the Chiesa della Nunziatella, the Santa Maria degli Angeli a Pizzofalcone Basilica, the Santa Maria della Catena Basilica and the Santissima Trinità degli Spagnoli Basilica.
The luxury shopping center Galleria Umberto I was built between 1887 and 1890.
Another famous landmark in the district is the Caffè Gambrinus, a famous literary café. Already towards the end of the 19th century, the cultural elite of Naples gathered here. Other cultural meeting points are the Salone Margherita and the opera house Real Teatro San Carlo. Lesser-known theaters include the Mercadante Theater, the Politeama Theater, the Sannazzaro Theater and the Augusteo Theater.