Eyes on the City, Naples

Posted in News, on February 06, 2020

The latest episode in the Eyes on the City series by C.P. Company focuses on the beautiful and often bewildering city of Naples. A unique place that blends it’s two very diverse souls into one, fusing tradition and innovation together in a never-ending play on shapes and colours.

Naples is a unique city. And by virtue of such uniqueness, it blends together its two very diverse souls, that run parallel along the path of history, yet never forgoing its roots; on the contrary, it has reinforced and toughened them, in order to build the future, while tradition and innovation merge and meet in a never-ending and stimulating play on shapes and colors and in a constant research based on the development of the urban setting and its various scenarios. Throughout the centuries, the city has evolved steadily, maintaining its true spirit: the little back alleys, clothes hanging on lines, its culture and passion, its scents and its romantic vibe: the Rione Sanità, for instance, encompasses the popular spirit of the city, where all the facets of old Naples, full of tradition and history, are still markedly represented. Walking down Via Foria, one reaches the heart of the Rione Sanità, in the midst of Naples’ historic center, Borgo delle Vergini. Here, the Palazzo dello Spagnuolo, a monumental building erected in 1738 and conceived as a space for socialization, thanks to its distinctive double ramp intersecting stairs, embodies the Neapolitan baroque style more than any other palace in the city. The Sanità is a neighborhood full of contradictions where one may breathe the true essence of a city still deeply connected to its traditions, but that looks to the future: Naples’ street art here is thriving, the Nuovo Teatro Sanità - located in a superb 1700s church – which had been neglected for over 10 years, has now become a place for the young people in the area to gather together and learn, a model of social development and innovation. Classic Naples may be admired in the Art Nouveau houses in the Vomero area as well as walking down to the sea, to the Mergellina cliffs that serve as the perfect setting to one of the world’s most beautiful cities

Naples is tougher than the centuries that have gone by, because time hasn’t changed it. With its classic and elegant soul, the city features elements found also elsewhere, but, here, they are gathered all together; the city has an effortless ability to harmonize and conciliate extremely different worlds, cultures and landscapes, natural or manmade, combining everything with that conciliatory disarray that inspires a sense of bewilderment in those who see the city for the first time. An apparently ill-formed chaos that turns into harmonious shapes.

Naples is like a daydream, capable of being what is not, and at the same time of not being what it is. Two places flawlessly insert themselves within such contradiction: the Chiesa di San Carlo Borromeo at the Centro Direzionale and the Casa del Portuale designed by Aldo Loris Rossi; they are the expression of a harsh evolution that is an integral part of Naples and its history. The Casa del Portuale, built between the 1968 and 1980, located south of via Vespucci, is a sort of futuristic vessel inserted amidst the silos of Naples’ port industrial area; its structural versatility is amazing, the building’s façade changes depending on the point of observation. The Chiesa di San Carlo Borromeo is situated inside the Centro Direzionale, the modern complex designed by Japanese architect Kenzō Tange and completed in 1995. The brainchild of one of Italy’s most influential and outstanding architects, Florence-born Pierluigi Spadolini (d. June 2000), the church was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in 1990. A bold structure, projecting itself into the sky, seamlessly immersed amidst the cluster of skyscrapers that are now a distinctive feature of the Poggioreale area, next to the Stazione Centrale. Naples has been, is, and forever will be a crossroads of peoples and cultures that throughout the centuries have shaped it into an eternal city, where past, present and future flow in unison, and where tradition and innovation blend within a unique and incomparable setting.

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