The Village of the Two Doors at Arenella, a secret place

by Federico Quagliuolo

The Due Porte all'Arenella Village is a place for most people stranger, perhaps someone will have glimpsed it after the opening of the swimming pool complex "Neapolis“.
Today it does not enjoy the fame of the village of Antignano, but, two hundred years ago, this place was much more famous than his Vomerese colleague.

The "Rione Due Porte”-This is its ancient name- is located behind Via Domenico Fontana and can be reached via a climb with slope of the 25% leading to one of the oldest villages of the Aminei Hills, probably born in the mists of time, as its origins are practically impossible to reconstruct with certainty.

Villaggio Due Porte all'Arenella Storie di Napoli Federico Quagliuolo
Due Porte village at Arenella at night

The Due Porte all'Arenella Village: where was it born?

Year 1580, Naples is a Spanish province at the time of Viceroyalty, and the city government is in the hands of the class of lawyers, men not necessarily noble, but very rich and from almost unlimited political power.
Precisely in these years the first noble villas to the Aminei Hills, to spend holidays in meadows with such beauty that they have been sung in poems since the times of ancient Rome.

It was precisely in the 16th century that the "Two Doors to Health Villagestarts appearing on maps, which became famous because i two Della Porta brothers they moved here, to enjoy the "best air of Naples“.

The origin of the name it is not obvious: according to the historian Pietro Giannone, this place was "for beauty comparable to Posillipo“, But above all it was called that because in the main square of the village they were two doors (still existing, one can be seen on the left side of the photo).
The second theory, again according to Giannone, is that the name could probably derive from the presence of the two Della Porta“, two (of the four) brothers philosophers and alchemists who moved here to spend the last years of their life. Among the famous historical figures who lived here, Carlo Cattaneo he built a magnificent villa right on the road leading to the village (which is now named after him).

Vico Molo alle Due Porte
The view from Vico Molo alle Due Porte in the Due Porte village at Arenella

What's up today?

The village did not quite survive the tsunami of demolition and concrete which drowned Arenella and Colli Aminei: around 1960 high-rise buildings were built in positions that are impossible to say the least also along the road that leads to this small square, but many old houses have not been - unfortunately - destroyed.

Then there is a further curiosity about the name of the main street of the village: Vico Molo alle Due Porte.  A somewhat unusual name for a road built on the side of a hill: what does a pier have to do with it? Where is the sea?
He explained it Salvatore Di Giacomo in one of his guidebooks from 1900: the breathtaking view, the fresh air and the tranquility of the place recalled exactly the Mergellina pier, with the difference that the Due Porte Village was easily accessible by all the inhabitants of the Neapolitan hills.

During the summer, therefore, couples of young people in love whole days passed along this road, walking just as if they were by the sea. Hence the Molo alle Due Porte was born. 

-Federico Quagliuolo

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