Vico Belledonne in Chiaia: origin story of a fascinating name

by Federico Quagliuolo

The beauty of the cities is that of research the history of its inhabitants in the ancient street names. In the case of Naples, moreover, the beauty of its citizens is celebrated In the "vico belledonne in Chiaia ", in addition at one time also supported by "handsome men" And "beautiful flowers and beautiful women". Self the last two no longer exist, that of Chiaia still there impresses.

Ritratto di Luigi Amato
Portrait, Luigi Amato
Vico Belledonne a Chiaia: storia origine di un nome affascinante

At the origin of Vico Belledonne in Chiaia

This is thelast of three roads dedicated to beautiful people in Naples. In the case of the Chiaia district, the street has been called this for about 400 years.

There are two other examples in Europe: a Florence there is another belledonne alley, but the Tuscan historians are as doubtful as the Neapolitan ones about the origin of the name, even if many hypothesize the presence of brothels. TO Geneva, however, in the Middle Ages there was a door called "pulchrarum filiarum“, But in the Swiss case it was a clear reference to prostitutes.

In Neapolitan case the thing increases even more i doubts. We know for sure that the alley it was called that way back in the 1600s, but at the time Chiaia was little more than one fishermen's beach with a small village, interspersed with some noble palace with large gardens overlooking the sea. It was in this historical period that the construction of the modern one began Municipal Villa.

Vico Belledonne a Chiaia
Market, Vincenzo Migliaro

The Vico Sospiri and the Vico Belledonne

Antonino Alonge suggests an even more beautiful suggestion on the history of vico belledonne, linking it with the nearby "vico sighs", that makes you imagine wonderful love stories.
Gino Doria explains with certainty that the "sighs" of the nearby alley of Chiaia certainly they do not refer to those of those sentenced to death, as often indicated by many online newspapers. The executions, in fact, took place in Market Square, on the other side of the city.

Or 'Chiammaveno' or Vico d '' and Suspire
pecché was 'o vico d' and beautiful daughters;
whoever passed by, yes there was no sun,
he was dazzled for the last few!

'o vico d' 'e Suspire, Antonino Alonge, 1904
Vico Belledonne a Chiaia: storia origine di un nome affascinante
'o vico d' 'e suspire, the poem by Antonino Alonge with a preface by Ferdinando Russo

Beautiful Men and Beautiful Flowers?

Naples is a city that values the gender equality, apparently. Before the 1930s, there were also two other avenues: "Vico Belliuomini" And "Vico Beautiful flowers and belledonne". They were located in the place of the fascist city, the one built in first renovation of the city to the detriment of the area of Tappia bridge.

Gino Doria reconstructs the history of the area, identifying the presence of an ancient flower market around Vico Belledonne and beautiful flowers below Via Toledo. In the 17th century there was also a "Hotel of the Flowers“, Which took its name from the market. Probably, according to Doria, the place was popular for real "beautiful women", rated "beautiful" for theirs passion for flowers, traditionally associated with femininity. The nearby alley "handsome men“Instead, it really is devoid of any rational explanation.

Both ways were completely razed to the ground.

But let's go back to our vico belledonne. After death of Luciano De Crescenzo the proposal for renaming the street with such a dark past, naming it after the wonderful Neapolitan philosopher. In the end the question was resolved by dedicating one to him license plate e leaving the last of the three "beautiful" alleys of Naples alive. For the joy of the soul of Luciano who, as a lover and lover of the history and things of his city, would never have wanted to cancel a historical name.

-Federico Quagliuolo

The story is dedicated to Melinda Urania Casciello for her generous donation. Support Naples Stories too!

Vincenzo Migliaro Primavera
"Spring" by Vincenzo Migliaro

Gino Doria, The streets of Naples, Ricciardi Editore, Milan, 1982
Romualdo Marrone, The roads of Naples, Newton Compton, Rome, 1997
Gianni Infusino, The new streets of Naples, Adriano Gallina, Naples, 1988

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