The Via Santa Lucia in Naples is the main street in a neighborhood that used to be inhabited solely by fishermen. This village, known as Borgo Antico di Santa Lucia, is now part of the San Ferdinando district.
Via Santa Lucia Naples
History and description
The Via Santa Lucia runs in northern direction from the Castel dell’Ovo bridge, before veering off to the right, towards the Molosiglio Gardens. The street is named for the 9th century Santa Lucia Church.
Until the end of the 16th century, the street was characterized by the small houses of poor fishermen’s families. In those days, the Via Santa Lucia still ran along the beach.
Between 1599 and 1620 various viceroys attempted to clean up the neighborhood. Their strategies included flattening the shabbiest hovels and building a defensive wall along the beach and getting rid of unnecessary constructions and thus clearing the view.
The Spanish viceroy, Gusmano di Olivares had the old, shabby fishermen’s houses demolished and built what is now Via Cesareo Console (then Via Guzmana) between his royal residence to the Borgo.
The changes made the area into a popular destination for foreign visitors to the city.
By the middle of the 17th century, the Via Santa Lucia was almost completely built up, especially on the interior side.
The situation remained the same until the 19th century. The city side of the street was almost completely taken up by houses and hotels, while the beach side was one protective wall, with every so often a path to the sea.
In the early 20th century, the area in front of the Via Santa Lucia was filled up. This meant that the street no longer ran along the beach and its character changed. The side facing the beach, where the defensive wall used to be, was taken up by big mansions. The side facing the city, on the other hand became a working class neighborhood.