Historic Centre of Naples

Historic Centre of Naples

From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo.

Centre historique de Naples

De la Neapolis fondée par des colons grecs en 470 av. J.-C. à la ville d'aujourd'hui, Naples a su conserver l'empreinte des cultures apparues tour à tour dans le bassin méditerranéen et en Europe. Cela en fait un site unique aux remarquables monuments tels que l'église Santa Chiara ou le Castel Nuovo, pour n'en nommer que deux.

الوسط التاريخي لنابولي

من "نيابوليس" التي أسسها مستوطِنون يونانيون في العام 470 ق.م. إلى المدينة كما هي اليوم، تمكنت نابولي من المحافظة على أثر الثقافات التي ظهرت الواحدة تلو الأخرى في الحوض المتوسطي وفي أوروبا. ما يجعل منها موقعًا فريدًا بنصبه المذهلة مثل كنيسة القديسة كلارا أو الكاستِل نووفو وغيرهما الكثير.

source: UNESCO/ERI

那不勒斯历史中心

那不勒斯是公元前470年由希腊移民创建的,从那时至今,它接纳和保留了不断出现在地中海盆地和欧洲的文化印记。这使得那不勒斯成为一个独特的城市。它拥有一系列出色的建筑,如桑塔基亚拉教堂及诺沃城堡。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический центр Неаполя

От Неаполиса, основанного греческими колонистами в 470 г. до н.э., и до города сегодняшних дней, Неаполь сохранил следы следующих друг за другом культур, которые возникали в Европе и Средиземноморье. Именно это определяет уникальность данного места с выдающимися памятниками, такими как церковь Санта-Кьяра и замок-крепость Кастель-Нуово.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Centro histórico de Nápoles

Nápoles ha conservado la impronta de las sucesivas culturas de la cuenca del Mediterráneo y de Europa, desde la época de la colonia griega de Neápolis, fundada al año 470 a.C., hasta los tiempos modernos. De ahí que su centro histórico sea un sitio excepcional dotado de notables monumentos como la iglesia de Santa Clara o el Castel Nuovo, entre otros muchos más.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ナポリ歴史地区
イタリア南部・カンパニア州の州都。紀元前5世紀にギリシャ人の植民都市として建設されて以来、ローマ・アラブ・ノルマンなど地中海世界に興亡したさまざまな文明の影響を受け、特異な混淆文化がつくりあげられてきた。14世紀のゴシック様式のサンタ・キアーラ教会、13~14世紀のヌオーヴォ城などが、今に残る代表的な歴史的建造物がある。

source: NFUAJ

Historisch centrum van Napels

Vanaf de stichting als Neapolis door de Grieken in 470 voor Christus tot aan vandaag de dag, heeft Napels het stempel behouden van de opeenvolgende culturen die ontstonden in Europa en het Middellandse Zeegebied. Dit maakt het een unieke plek met een schat aan opmerkelijke monumenten, zoals de kerk van Santa Chiara en het Castel Nuovo. Napels is één van de oudste steden in Europa, waarvan de hedendaagse stedelijke structuur de elementen heeft behouden van haar lange en bewogen geschiedenis. Het stratenpatroon, de schat aan historische gebouwen en de situering aan de baai van Napels maken de stad van uitzonderlijke waarde zonder weerga.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Centre of Naples © Our Place World Heritage collection
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Located in southern Italy, Naples is a major port city in the centre of the ancient Mediterranean region. Its origins go back to its foundation as Parthenope or Palaepolis in the 9th century B.C., subsequently re-established as Neapolis (New City) in 470 B.C. It is therefore one of the most ancient cities in Europe, whose current urban fabric preserves a selection of outstanding elements of its long and eventful history, as expressed in its street pattern, its wealth of historic buildings and parks, the continuation of many of its urban and social functions, its wonderful setting on the Bay of Naples and the continuity of its historical stratification.

Naples was among the foremost cities of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the transmission of Greek culture to Roman society. It eventually became a major cultural centre in the Roman Republic, civitas foederata. Sections of the Greek town walls excavated since World War II and the excavated remains of a Roman theatre, cemeteries and catacombs testify to this history. In the 6th century A.D., Naples was conquered by the Byzantine Empire, becoming an autonomous Duchy, later associated with the Normans, Swabians, and the Sicilian reign. Evidence of this period includes the churches of San Gennaro extra moenia, San Giorgio Maggiore, and San Giovanni Maggiore with surviving elements of 4th and 5th century architecture, the chapel of Santa Restituta in the 14th-century cathedral, and the Castel dell'Ovo, one of the most substantial survivals from the Norman period, although subsequently remodelled on several occasions.

With the Angevin dynasty (1265-1442), Naples became the living symbol of the prestige, dignity, and power of the dynasty. The city expanded to include suburbs and neighbouring villages. The Angevin also initiated an influential relationship with Western art and architecture, particularly French Gothic, integrated with the earlier Greek and Arab elements. The convents of Santa Chiara and San Lorenzo Maggiore and the churches of Donna Regina and I’lncoronata, San Lorenzo Maggiore, San Domenico Maggiore and the new Cathedral date from this period.

From the 15th to 17th centuries, Naples was governed by the Aragonese, who remodelled the defences and street pattern, and constructed the Castel Nuovo largely in the Tuscan style as one of the foremost centres of their empire. The period of Spanish rule is marked by the Royal Palace built in 1600 along one side of the imposing Piazza del Plebiscito, the Monte dei Poveri Vergognosi charitable institution, the convent of Sant'Agostino degli Scalzi, and the Jesuit College on Capodimonte.

From 1734, under the government of the Bourbons, Naples emerged, together with Paris and London, as one of the major capital cities of Europe. The architectural heritage of Naples from this period was widely influential, and is expressed particularly in the interior design of the royal palaces and associated noble residences that were part of the territorial system extending far beyond the city itself. Important palaces of the 18th century include the large palace Albergo dei Poveri, the National Archaeological Museum, the Certosa of Suor Orsola Benincasa on the hill of San Martino, and the Villa Pignatelli.

The component parts of the serial property are: the Historical Centre of Naples; the District of Villa Manzo, Santa Maria della Consolazione; Marechiaro ; the District of Casale ; the District of Santo Strato  and the Villa Emma . 

Criterion (ii): The city’s setting on the Bay of Naples gives it an Outstanding Universal Value which has had a profound influence in many parts of Europe and beyond. Naples has exerted great influence on the rest of Europe ever since the antiquity, as a major centre in Magna Graecia and of the Roman Republic. Its role as one of the most influential cultural centres in the Mediterranean region was reconfirmed in the Middle Ages and again from the 16th to 18th centuries, being one of the major European capitals, and exerting important influences in many cultural fields, especially related to art and architecture.

Criterion (iv): Naples is one of the most ancient cities in Europe, whose contemporary urban fabric preserves the elements of its long and eventful history. The rectangular grid layout of the ancient Greek foundation of Neapolis is still discernible and has indeed continued to provide the basic form for the present-day urban fabric of the Historic Centre of Naples, one of the foremost Mediterranean port cities. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, Naples was a focal point in terms of art and architecture, expressed in its ancient forts, the royal ensembles such as the Royal Palace of 1600, and the palaces and churches sponsored by the noble families. 

Integrity

The World Heritage property of the Historic Centre of Naples includes all the essential elements that contribute to the justification of its Outstanding Universal Value. These comprise the historic centre as defined by the Aragonese walls, as well as significant elements from the 18th century, including important palaces, as well as buildings for governmental, residential, university, health and sanitary, and arts and crafts functions. These buildings and functions represent all the relevant periods of the history of Naples, and are in a fair state of conservation. The important historical relationship of the city to the sea is maintained through the preservation of archaeological remains of the Roman period along the sea coast and the rehabilitation of the small boat harbours found from Castel Nuovo to Capo Posillipo.

A minor boundary modification was approved by the World Heritage Committee in 2011. This enlarged the component “Historic Centre of Naples” and merged and enlarged the components “District of Casale” and “District of Santo Strato”, in order to include a non-developed and protected archaeological area. The property is vulnerable to lack of maintenance of the non-monumental urban fabric. The setting of the property is intact and not threatened by development. 

Authenticity

The town plan has a high level of authenticity, and has retained considerable evidence of the Greco-Roman city and the checkerboard layout of the 16th-century “Spanish quarters”. The typology of the public and private buildings has been well retained as part of the current city plan, as well as in their spatial, volumetric, and decorative features. There is remarkable continuity in the use of materials, all derived locally, and distinctive visual and material features, such as the basic yellow tufa, white marble, and the grey piperno. The techniques developed for the use of these materials survive to a considerable degree and are used in restoration and conservation projects. 

Protection and management requirements

The 1972 General Town Plan (Ministerial Decree No 1829, 31 March 1972) identifies the protected area of the historic centre, where all interventions must be approved by the appropriate Soprintendenza. The Master Plan confirmed the requirements of the previous plan by expanding the scope of the defined town centre. The provisions of Act No. 47 of 28 February 1985 on “Norms Pertaining to Town Planning and Building Control Activity, Sanctions, Recovery, and Redevelopment of Abusive Works” are applicable to the area, and lay down specifications for building heights and spacing. A large number of buildings in the city are designated under the terms of Act No. 1089 of 1 June 1939, the central piece of Italian legislation relating to heritage protection. These rules were later merged in the code of the cultural heritage and landscape of the D.Lgs n.42/2004.

This means that for these buildings there is a safeguard measure which ensures any activity on the site must be authorized by the relevant Soprintendenza (peripheral office of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities), which can deny it for conservation reasons, authorize intervention including limitations, authorizing only interventions which do not harm the resource in question.

Other national and regional statutes and regulations relating to planning control and heritage are also applicable to the Historic Centre of Naples. The responsible national agencies are the Ministry for the Environmental and Cultural Heritage, the Campania Regional Council, the Provincial Council of Naples, and the Municipal Council of Naples. The management of the World Heritage property is undertaken by an office of the municipality that was created for the valorisation of the Historic Centre of Naples. This office is responsible for a management plan for the World Heritage property which guides its safeguarding and protection while at the same time ensuring that Naples remains a living and vibrant city. The plan will be regularly monitored to ensure its effectiveness and is updated every 6 to 10 years. The vision of the Management Plan is to safeguard the cultural heritage and to conserve the stratified urban fabric, to support traditional socio-economic interrelations and cultural production, as well as the quality of life, to maintain the mixed uses, to increase security and hygiene, and to raise awareness and understanding of heritage resources. The scope is also to integrate the property within the broader territorial system around the Bay of Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Herculaneum and Pompeii, in the context of cultural tourism for the area.

Long Description

Naples is one of the most ancient cities in Europe, whose contemporary urban fabric preserves the elements of its long and eventful history. Its street pattern, its wealth of historic buildings from many periods, and its setting on the Bay of Naples give it an outstanding universal value without parallel, and one that has had a profound influence in many parts of Europe and beyond.

Much of the significance of Naples is due to its urban fabric, which represents twenty-five centuries of growth. Little survives above ground of the Greek town, but important archaeological discoveries have been made in excavations since the end of the Second World War. Three sections of the original town walls of this period are visible in the north-west. The surviving Roman remains are more substantial, notably the large theatre, cemeteries and catacombs. The street layout in the earliest parts of the city owes much to its classical origins.

The period that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West saw the beginning of church-building on a substantial scale, and churches such as those of San Gennaro extra moenia, San Giorgio Maggiore, and San Giovanni Maggiore have surviving elements of 4th- and 5th-century architecture. The chapel of Santa Restituta in the 14th-century cathedral is reputed to be the first Christian basilica in Naples. The Castel dell'Ovo is one of the most substantial survivals from the Norman period. Built as a fortress-monastery on the site of the villa of Lucullus, it was subsequently remodelled on several occasions, and given its present form at the end of the 17th century.

During the Norman-Swabian period the city remained largely within its classical walls, but the arrival of the Angevin kings saw it begin to expand and to absorb the suburbs and neighbouring villages. The influence of western art and architecture began to assert itself at this time. French Gothic pervaded both religious and domestic architecture. From the Angevin period date religious structures - the new cathedral, the churches of San Lorenzo Maggiore, San Domenico Maggiore, Santa Chiara and others, and the secular buildings Castel Nuovo, Castel Capuano and Palace of the Prince of Taranto. The strongest influence came from southern France, and there is much fine Provençal Gothic architecture in Naples.

The accession of the Aragonese dynasty saw much building and rebuilding. The town walls were refurbished and rationalized. The Renaissance heritage of Naples is mainly the work of Italian architects, with some from Catalonia. The San Severino Palace, now demolished, was one of the most lavish buildings of its period. A number of major churches date from this period (Santa Caterina a Formiello and the Monteoliveto complex). The early 16th century saw the beginning of two centuries of Spanish rule, and the strengthening once again of the defences, particularly during the twenty years of the viceroyalty of Pedro de Toledo, who initiated a planning policy for the city as part of his efforts to carry out a social reorganization. The Royal Palace was built in 1600 and fills one side of the imposing Piazza del Plebiscito. Church building included such foundations as the Monte dei Poveri Vergognosi charitable institution, the convent of Sant'Agostino degli Scalzi, and the Jesuit College on Capodimonte.

Suburbs continued to grow outside the and these, too, saw the erection of large religious and secular structures. Quarters both inside and outside the walls became specialized according to nationality, social grade, and trade. The port also grew to meet the City's increasing requirements in the 17th and 18th centuries. The 19th century saw more radical changes in the street plan, notably the creation of the Piazza Mercato during the reign of Ferdinand IV after an area of wooden barrack buildings was destroyed by fire.

Following unification in 1860, a great deal of planning and rehabilitation took place. What had become slum quarters were cleared, as a result of which many earlier buildings were swept away and new roads were built, cutting through earlier street patterns.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Naples (Neapolis = New City) was founded in 470 BC, close to a Cumaean trading port of the 7th century BC, Partenope (later to become Palepolis or Old City when it merged with Naples), after the battle in which the combined forces of Cumae and Syracuse defeated the Etruscan fleet and ended its ambitions to dominate the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city was enclosed by walls and laid out on a regular grid, with fine public buildings. The city maintained good relations with Athens, which it supplied with grain from its fertile hinterland. It entered the Roman orbit in the late 4th century BC as a loyal ally during the Samnite wars, but retained its close cultural and linguistic links with Greece. Excavations in recent years have revealed a great deal about the history Of the town. In the Imperial period it expanded to the south and the east. The earthquakes of AD 62 and 79 caused considerable damage, but the town was quickly rebuilt and recovered its importance. However, the later 3rd century saw a decline, illustrated by the abandonment of certain areas, followed by repairs to the defences in the 4th and 5th centuries. In the first half of the 6th century Justinian's general, Belisarius, brought Naples back into the Byzantine orbit, where it remained until it came under Norman domination in 1139/40; at first a dependency of Ravenna, the city became autonomous from 763 onwards, when Stephen became Duke. The cultural connections between Naples and Ravenna are manifested by the architecture and decoration of the many churches and monasteries dating from this period. The town itself stayed roughly the same size, but there was considerable rebuilding.

The surrender of the keys of the city to the Norman King Roger II of Sicily saw the initiation of the south Italian kingdom that was to endure, under different names and royal houses, until 1860. A dynastic marriage saw Naples pass to the Swabian Hohenstaufen family in 1189, whose most famous member, Frederick II, founded a university at Naples in 1224 which boasted among its students St Thomas Aquinas. Hohenstaufen threats to the papacy saw Charles of Anjou, brother of St Louis, crowned as King of Sicily in 1265. He moved the capital of his kingdom to Palermo, but Naples prospered and expanded during the two centuries of Angevin rule, as both administrative centre and port, and it was embellished with many artistic and architectural treasures, such as the convents of Santa Chiara and San Lorenzo Maggiore and the churches of Donnaregina and l'lncoronata.

In 1442 the Angevin dynastic crisis led to the accession of the first Aragonese king, Alfonso I, who was responsible for much building in Naples, including the Castelnuovo, largely in the Tuscan style, and considerable remodeling of its street pattern and defences. Following a Short period of French rule (1495-1503), Naples came under the rule of a viceroy as a province of the Spanish empire. This was a period of great misery for most of the south of Italy, including Naples, even though some improvements were carried out in the city, notably by the viceroy Pedro Alvarez de Toledo (1532-33).

The Treaty of Vienna in 1738 recognized Charles II, son of Philip V of Spain, as King of Naples and Sicily, and Naples became once again the capital of an autonomous kingdom. Like the rest of Italy, Naples came under French rule in the Napoleonic period, and benefited from some ambitious urban projects. With the return of the Bourbons in 1815, Ferdinand IV took the name and title Of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies. The Bourbon dynasty was brought to an end with the entry of Garibaldi's army in 1860.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation