Via Medina Naples
History and description
The Via Medina is named after the Spanish Viceroy Ramiro Felipe Núñez de Guzmán, Duke of Medina de las Torres (1600-1668). During his reign, the viceroy had the entire area cleaned up and embellished. After this, the original name, Largo delle Corregge, was changed to the present one.
The street owed its original name to the tournaments that used to be held there, corregge being a general name for the protective equipment a horse used to wear.
A gate (Porta Petruccia) that used to lead from the street to the Castel Nuovo does not exist anymore. In the early 15th century, after the castle had been reconstructed by Alfonso V of Aragon, the Largo delle Corregge became an important commercial street.
In the 16th century, when the castle was enlarged, the ground level in the area needed to be raised.
In 1559, the road was enlarged under Viceroy Pedro Afán de Ribera, Duke of Alcalá. After that, it was called Strada Rivera until it got its present name.
The churches and palaces lining the street were mostly constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The urban development of the end of the 19th century also affected the Via Medina. Other changes occurred during the fascist era and in the 1950s.
Points of interest
The Palazzo dell’INA is now the seat of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Naples.
The first version of the Palazzo Fondi was constructed in the 18th century. The building was decorated by Giacomo del Pò and Paolo De Matteis. Halfway through the same century, the palace was renovated by Luigi Vanvitelli, whose portal and balcony balustrade remain.
The Santa Maria Incoronata Church was built in Gothic style in 1352, to commemorate the coronation of Queen Giovanna I. The vault above the entrance features frescoes illustrating the triumph of religion and the seven sacraments, including two cycles attributed to the local painter Roberto d’Oderisio.
The early 17th century Baroque San Giorgio dei Genovesi Church was designed by Bartolomeo Picchiatti. It is also known as San Giorgio alla Commedia Vecchia.
The church of Santa Maria della Pietà dei Turchini is often used for sacred music concerts. The Tuchini part of its name refers to the turquoise-coloured clothing of the children in the orphanage belonging to it.
The Palazzo d’Aquino di Caramanico was the work of the Rococo architect Ferdinando Fuga. The interior was painted by Giovanni Funaro and Nicola Malinconico. In 1927, the palace became the seat of the Fascist Party in Naples. Fuga worked on the building from 1775 till 1780.
The former Palazzo Giordano is now known as the Palazzo Caracciolo di Forino. Orginally constructed in 1540, it was also given a facelift by Ferdinando Fuga.
The Vico Medina separating the two buildings gives an indication of the average width of the streets in this part of the city until the early 20th century.
The Palazzo Carafa di Nocera was designed by the local architect Gabriele d’Agnolo. Under Napoleon, it was used as a police commissariat. Later owners had all the original Renaissance elements removed.
The San Diego all’Ospedaletto Church is also known as San Giovanni Maggiore. The church, which was constructed in 1514, is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its cloister is now part of a police station.
The Ambassador’s Palace Hotel, constructed between 1954 and 1957, is one of the city’s first skyscrapers.
The Palazzo della Questura was constructed in the 1930s.
There are also some archaeological remains in the Via Medina.
In 1946, a referendum was held in which the country voted to abolish the monarchy and become a republic. However, in Naples, the majority was pro-monarchy. This led to violent clashes and several people died when the communist party headquarters in the Via Medina was attacked for displaying the Italian flag without the coat of arms of the House of Savoy.
Between 2001 and 2014, the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza del Municipio, stood in front of the Palazzo Fondi.