Via San Biagio dei Librai Naples

The Via San Biagio dei Librai in Naples is one of three streets that together form the Spaccanapoli. It runs exactly where the Roman decumano inferiore used to be. The street is named after the church of the Brotherhood of the Booksellers.

Via San Biagio dei Librai Naples

Useful information

Attractions: Palazzo Carafa di Maddaloni, San Nicola a Nilo Church, San Gennaro all’Olmo Church, San Biagio dei Librai Church, Palazzo Marigliano, Ospedale delle Bambole.

Metro: Dante (line 1), Garibaldi (line 2).

History and description

The Via San Biagio dei Librai runs from the Piazza San Domenico to the Via Duomo. In medieval times, this was where the aristocrat families of Naples used to live.

The Librai part of the street name refers to the many booksellers that used to have shops here.

Unfortunately most of the bookstores have been replaced by souvenir shops and presepiai. (“Presepi” are the nativity scenes Naples is famous for.)

What to see

The Palazzo Carafa was built in 1467 for the aristocrat Domenico Carafa. The most noteworthy part of this building is the Madonella decorating one of the sides.

Across the road you see a church with a double ramp staircase. This is the San Nicola a Nilo Church.

The building on n. 31 is the birth house of the philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668-1744).

The San Gennaro all’Olmo Church is located on the intersection with the Via San Gregorio Armeno. This church named for a huge elm tree that used to adorn the square in front of the church. Built in the late 7th century, it was the first church inside the city walls dedicated to the patron saint of the city.

The San Biagio Maggiore Church nextdoor is connected to the San Gennaro all’Olmo by means of an internal passage. Likewise constructed in the late 7th century, this baroque church, from the 16th century onward run by the booksellers’ guild, gave its name to the street.

A plaque on the wall of the Palazzo Marigliano (n. 39) refers to the relationship between the church and the booksellers’ guild.

The Ospedale delle Bambole (n. 81) was founded toward the end of the 19th century. The founder of this “Dolls’ Hospital”, Luigi Grassi, was a theater set designer who used the space to repair damaged theatrical dolls and puppets. His family has been running the hospital for four generations.

Via San Biagio dei Librai Naples

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