Until the 19th century, the Via Chiatamone in the Borgo Antico di Santa Lucia neigborhood in Naples used to be a coastal road. Like most of the Borgo, the street has changed significantly in the course of its history. During the 16th century, the caves that gave the street its name were used as a kind of red light district.
Via Chiatamone Naples
History and description
The name Chiatamone is a derivation from the Greek Platamòn, which means “cliff with caves”. The “cliff” is the Monte Echia. The caves were created by the erosion caused by the sea. These are obviously not visible anymore since the stretch of coastline south of the Via Chiatamone was filled in and built up.
In antiquity, the caves used to be used for the cult of Mithras. During the middle ages, they formed the backdrop to all kinds of lawless activities, mostly of a sexual nature. Things eventually got so bad that Pedro de Toledo y Zúñiga, Viceroy of Napels from 1532 and 1552, had them sealed off.
In those days, the Via Chiatamone was no more than a dirt road. This changed in 1565, when protective walls were constructed around the Borgo. Although the dirt road became a wide promenade, promiscuity continued to reign the neighborhood, however.
A real change took place around the end of the 19th century. Land was reclaimed from the sea, the street was narrowed and lost its coastal appeal.
What to see
The Chiesa della Concezione al Chiatamone is also known as the Church of the Crocelle. The latter name refers to the Order of the Clerics Regular, Ministers to the Sick running the church. It was founded in the 17th century, suppressed by the French, and reopened in 1821. The facade was designed by Bartolomeo Vecchione.
Public transport: Bus lines 128, 140, 154, N1, N7.
Attractions: Chiesa della Concezione al Chiatamone.