NAPLES – ART, ARCHITECTURE IN ADDITION TO IT’S HISTORY
Naples has long been a centre of art and architecture, dotted with Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance-era churches, castles and palaces. In the 18th century, Naples went through a period of neoclassicism, following the discovery of the remarkably intact Roman ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
The Neapolitan Academy of Fine Arts, founded by Charles III of Bourbon in 1752 as the Real Accademia di Disegno (en: Royal Academy of Design), was the centre of the artistic School of Posillipo in the 19th century. Artists such as Domenico Morelli, Giacomo Di Chirico, Francesco Saverio Altamura, and Gioacchino Toma worked in Naples during this period, and many of their works are now exhibited in the Academy’s art collection. The modern Academy offers courses in painting, decorating, sculpture, design, restoration, and urban planning. Naples is also known for its theatres, which are among the oldest in Europe – the Teatro di San Carlo opera house dates back to the 18th century.
Naples is also the home of the artistic tradition of Capodimonte porcelain. In 1743, Charles of Bourbon founded the Royal Factory of Capodimonte, many of whose artworks are now on display in the Museum of Capodimonte. Several of Naples’ mid-19th-century porcelain factories remain active today.
Naples is internationally famous for its cuisine and wine; it draws culinary influences from the numerous cultures which have inhabited it over the course of its history, including the Greeks, Spanish and French. Neapolitan cuisine emerged as a distinct form in the 18th century. The ingredients are typically rich in taste, while remaining affordable to the general populace.
Naples is traditionally credited as the home of pizza. This originated as a meal of the poor, but under Ferdinand IV it became popular among the upper classes: famously, the Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy after her visit to the city. Cooked traditionally in a wood-burning oven, the ingredients of Neapolitan pizza have been strictly regulated by law since 2004, and must include wheat flour type “00” with the addition of flour type “0” yeast, natural mineral water, peeled tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Spaghetti is also associated with the city and is commonly eaten with the sauce ragù: a popular Neapolitan folkloric symbol is the comic figure Pulcinella eating a plate of spaghetti. Other dishes popular in Naples include Parmigiana di melanzane, spaghetti alle vongole and casatiello. As a coastal city, Naples is furthermore known for numerous seafood dishes, including impepata di cozze (peppered mussels), purpetiello affogato (octopus poached in broth), alici marinate (marinated anchovies), baccalà alla napoletana (salt cod) and baccalà fritto (fried cod), a dish commonly eaten during the Christmas period.
Naples is well known for its sweet dishes, including colourful gelato, which is similar to ice cream, though more fruit-based. Popular Neapolitan pastry dishes include zeppole (more commonly called “‘a Pasta Cresciuta” and “‘e fFritt’ ‘e Viento”) babà, sfogliatelle and pastiera, the latter of which is prepared specially for Easter celebrations. Another seasonal sweet is struffoli, a sweet-tasting honey dough decorated and eaten around Christmas. Neapolitan coffee is also widely acclaimed. The traditional Neapolitan flip coffee pot, known as the cuccuma or cuccumella, was the basis for the invention of the espresso machine, and also inspired the Moka pot.
Naples has had an enormous influence on Italian cinema since its beginning, because many literary stories, dramas and comedies spotting the city of Naples as background had been ported into corresponding movie version. For example, Naples was the location for some of the first Italian cinema masterpieces, like Assunta Spina, adapted from a theatrical drama by a novel of the writer Salvatore Di Giacomo. It was directed both by neapolitan director Gustavo Serena one of first directors of movies in Italy, and by Francesca Bertini (born in Florence, who spent her childhood in Naples), one of the first stars of cinema worldwide.
Naples and its surroundings also gave birth to many of Italians directors and actors such as Vittorio De Sica (born in Sora, Academy Award winner), Sophia Loren (born in Pozzuoli, Academy Award winner), Gabriele Salvatores (Academy Award winner), Massimo Troisi (born in San Giorgio a Cremano), Totò (stage name of Antonio de Curtis ), Eduardo De Filippo, Peppino De Filippo, Titina De Filippo, Nino Taranto, Tina Pica, Bud Spencer (stage name of Carlo Pedersoli), Aldo and Carlo Giuffré, Lina Sastri, Mario Merola, Nino D’Angelo, Mario Martone, Paolo Sorrentino, Toni Servillo (born in Afragola) and Pappi Corsicato.
Naples is also the leading location of the first Italian color movie, Carosello Napoletano, despite the fact that oleographic slices of the city were entirely reconstructed in studios and not in live locations.
Some notable comedies set in Naples include “Ieri, Oggi e Domani” (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow), by Vittorio De Sica, starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, Episode “Adelina of Naples” (Academy Award winning movie), It Started in Naples, L’oro di Napoli again by Vittorio De Sica, dramatic movies like Dino Risi‘s Scent of a Woman, war movies like “The four days of Naples” by Sardinian director Nanni Loy, music and Sceneggiata movies like Zappatore, from the eponymous song by Libero Bovio, starring singer and actor Mario Merola, crime movies like Il Camorrista with Ben Gazzara playing the part of infamous camorra boss Raffaele Cutolo, and historical or costume movies like That Hamilton Woman starring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier.
More modern Neapolitan films include Ricomincio da tre, which depicts the misadventures of a young emigrant in the late 20th century. The 2008 film Gomorrah, based on the book by Roberto Saviano, explores the dark underbelly of the city of Naples through five intertwining stories about the powerful Neapolitan crime syndicate, the Camorra.
The Naples dialect, a distinct language which is mainly spoken in the city, is also found in the region of Campania, and has been diffused to other areas of Southern Italy by Neapolitan migrants. On 14 October 2008, a law was passed by the Region of Campania, stating that the Neapolitan language was to be legally protected.
The term “Neapolitan language” is often used to describe the language of all of Campania, and is sometimes applied to the entire South Italian language; Ethnologue refers to the latter as Napoletano-Calabrese. This linguistic group is spoken throughout most of southern continental Italy, including the Gaeta and Sora district of southern Lazio, the southern part of Marche and Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, northern Calabria, and northern and central Puglia. In 1976, there were theorised to be 7,047,399 native speakers of this group of dialects.
Naples is one of the main centres of Italian literature. The history of the Neapolitan language was deeply entwined with that of the Tuscan dialect which then became the current Italian language. The first written testimonies of the Italian language are the Placiti Cassinensi legal documents, dated 960 A.D., preserved in the Monte Cassino Abbey, which are in fact evidence of a language spoken in a southern dialect. The Tuscan poet Boccaccio lived for many years at the court of King Robert the Wise and used Naples as a setting for The Decameron and a number of his later novels. His works contain some words that are taken from Neapolitan instead of the corresponding Italian, e.g. “testo” (neap.: “testa”) which in Naples indicates a large terracotta jar used to cultivate shrubs and little trees. King Alfonso V of Aragon stated in 1442 that the Neapolitan language was to be used instead of latin in official documents.
Later Neapolitan was replaced by Spanish during Spanish domination, and then by Italian. In 1458 the Accademia Pontaniana, one of the first academies in Italy, was established in Naples as a free initiative by men of letters, science and literature. In 1480 the writer and poet Jacopo Sannazzaro wrote the first pastoral romance, Arcadia, which influenced Italian literature. In 1634 Giambattista Basile collected Lo Cunto de li Cunti, five books of ancient tales written in the Neapolitan dialect rather than Italian. Philosopher Giordano Bruno, who theorized the existence of infinite solar systems and the infinity of the entire universe, completed his studies at University of Naples. Due to philosophers such as Giambattista Vico, Naples became one of the centres of the Italian peninsula for historic and philosophy of history studies.
Jurisprudence studies were enhanced in Naples thanks to eminent personalities of jurists ike Bernardo Tanucci, Gaetano Filangieri and Antonio Genovesi. In the 18th century Naples, together with Milan, became one of the most important sites from which the Enlightenment penetrated into Italy. Poet and philosopher Giacomo Leopardi visited the city in 1837 and then died there. His works influenced Francesco de Sanctis who made his studies in Naples, and then eventually became Minister of Instruction during the Italian kingdom. De Sanctis was one of the first literary critics to discover, study and diffusing the poems and literary works of the great poet from Recanati.
Writer and journalist Matilde Serao co-founded the newspaper Il Mattino with her husband Edoardo Scarfoglio in 1892. Serao was an acclaimed novelist and writer during her day. Poet Salvatore Di Giacomo was one of the most famous writers in the Neapolitan dialect, and many of his poems were adapted to music, becoming famous Neapolitan songs. In the 20th century, philosophers like Benedetto Croce pursued the long tradition of philosophy studies in Naples, and personalities like jurist and lawyer Enrico De Nicola pursued legal and constitutional studies. De Nicola later helped to draft the modern Constitution of the Italian Republic, and was eventually elected to the office of President of the Italian Republic. Other noted Neapolitan writers and journalists include Antonio De Curtis, Curzio Malaparte, Giancarlo Siani and Roberto Saviano. Naples was one of the centers of the peninsula from which originated the modern theatre genre as nowadays intended, evolving from 16th century “comedy of art“. The masked character of Pulcinella is worldwide famous figure either as theatrical character or puppetry character.
The music Opera genre of opera buffa was born in Naples in the 18th century and then spread to Rome and then in northern Italy. In the period of Belle Époque Naples rivaled with Paris for its Café-chantants, and many famous neapolitan songs were originally born to entertain the public of cafès of Naples. The most famous known is “Ninì Tirabusciò”. The history of how this song was birth was dramatized in the eponymous comedy movie “Ninì Tirabusciò: la donna che inventò la mossa” starring Monica Vitti. The Neapolitan popular genre of “Sceneggiata” is one of the most important genres of modern folk theatre worldwide, dramatizing common canon themes of thwarted love stories, comedies, tearjerker sob stories, commonly about honest people becoming camorra outlaws due to unfortunate events. Born in little folk theatres in the period between the end of the 19th century and the World War I, as evolution and crystallization of the neapolitan comedy of art, the Sceneggiata collected an immense success amongst the neapolitan people, and then became one of the most famous and worldwide known genres of Italian cinema thanks to actors and singers like Mario Merola and Nino D’Angelo. Many writers and playwrights such as Raffaele Viviani wrote comedies and dramas for this genre. Actors and comedians like Eduardo Scarpetta and then his sons Eduardo De Filippo, Peppino De Filippo and Titina De Filippo, during a two generations long effort, contributed to make worldwide known the neapolitan theatre and its comedies and tragedy plays, such as “Filumena Marturano” and “Napoli Milionaria“. Actors like prince Antonio de Curtis, Peppino De Filippo, Nino Taranto and many others begun their fame as comedians of Variety show (in Italian called “Varietà”) touring in theatres along all Italy, then became famous as cinema actors and, in the end of their career, pioneered the TV in Italy. Eduardo De Filippo ported his theatrical plays as cinema movies and then recording for TV his masterpieces and live theatrical performances. Nowadays comedians like Massimo Troisi started their career in small theatres and cabarets or even discoteques and then emerged in TV entertainment and comedy shows.
Naples has played an important role in the history of Western European art music for more than four centuries. The first music conservatories were established in the city under Spanish rule in the 16th century. The San Pietro a Majella music conservatory, founded in 1826 by Francesco I of Bourbon, continues to operate today as both a prestigious centre of musical education and a musical museum.
During the late Baroque period, Alessandro Scarlatti, the father of Domenico Scarlatti, established the Neapolitan school of opera; this was in the form of opera seria, which was a new development for its time. Another form of opera originating in Naples is opera buffa, a style of comic opera strongly linked to Battista Pergolesi and Piccinni; later contributors to the genre included Rossini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Teatro di San Carlo, built in 1737, is the oldest working theatre in Europe, and remains the operatic centre of Naples.
The earliest six-string guitar was created by the Neapolitan Gaetano Vinaccia in 1779; the instrument is now referred to as the romantic guitar. The Vinaccia family also developed the mandolin. Influenced by the Spanish, Neapolitans became pioneers of classical guitar music, with Ferdinando Carulli and Mauro Giuliani being prominent exponents. Giuliani, who was actually from Apulia but lived and worked in Naples, is widely considered to be one of the greatest guitar players and composers of the 19th century, along with his Catalan contemporary Fernando Sor. Another Neapolitan musician of note was opera singer Enrico Caruso, one of the most prominent opera tenors of all time: he was considered a man of the people in Naples, hailing from a working-class background.
A popoluar traditional dance in Southern Italy and Naples is the Tarantella, originated in the Apulia region and spread next to all part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Neapolitan tarantella is a courtship dance performed by couples whose “rhythms, melodies, gestures, and accompanying songs are quite distinct” featuring faster more cheerful music.
A notable element of popular Neapolitan music is the Canzone Napoletana style, essentially the traditional music of the city, with a repertoire of hundreds of folk songs, some of which can be traced back to the 13th century. The genre became a formal institution in 1835, after the introduction of the annual Festival of Piedigrotta songwriting competition. Some of the best-known recording artists in this field include Roberto Murolo, Sergio Bruni and Renato Carosone. There are furthermore various forms of music popular in Naples but not well known outside it, such as cantautore (“singer-songwriter”) and sceneggiata, which has been described as a musical soap opera; the most well-known exponent of this style is Mario Merola.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Naples. Brought to the city by the British during the early 20th century, the sport is deeply embedded in local culture: it is popular at every level of society, from the scugnizzi (street children) to wealthy professionals. The city’s best known football club is SSC Napoli, which plays its home games at the Stadio San Paolo in Fuorigrotta. The team plays in the Serie A league and has won the Scudetto twice, the Coppa Italia five times and the Supercoppa Italiana twice. The team has also won the UEFA Cup, and once named FIFA Player of the Century Diego Maradona among its players. Naples has itself produced numerous prominent professional footballers, including Ciro Ferrara and Fabio Cannavaro. Cannavaro was captain of Italy’s national team until 2010, and led the team to victory in the 2006 World Cup. He was consequently named World Player of the Year.
Some of the city’s smaller clubs include Sporting Neapolis and Internapoli, which play at the Stadio Arturo Collana. The city also has teams in a variety of other sports: Eldo Napoli represents the city in basketball’s Serie A and plays in the city of Bagnoli. Partenope Rugby are the city’s best-known rugby union side: the team has won the rugby union Serie A twice. Other popular local sports include water polo, horse racing, sailing, fencing, boxing, taekwondo and martial arts. The Accademia Nazionale di Scherma (National Academy and Fencing School of Naples) is the only place in Italy where the titles “Master of Sword” and “Master of Kendo” can be obtained.[154