Via Scarlatti: a “bridge to Posillipo” wanted by the Risanamento

by Francesco Li Volti

Via Scarlatti is certainly the beating heart of the Vomero, with its colorful shop windows and the (constant) comings and goings of so many people that Piazza Duomo in Milan it looks like the Sahara desert. In reality, its current appearance is due to a proposal from the Nineties by the Municipality of Naples which was not well received by the shopkeepers. It may seem strange, but the decision was at the center of many controversies and protests by the exhibitors, who took to the streets ready to do battle.

In fact, this initiative can be seen as one of the first battles in the area green won by ecologists. Against all odds, the street began to breathe a new air and the results were so above expectations that even the owners of the shops and condominiums of the neighboring side streets followed suit. So, in the 2000s, too via Alvino e via Merliani, in the parts that intersect via Scarlatti, became pedestrian. Finally, it touched on via Luca Giordano, where access to cars and mopeds was prohibited from the end of 2008.

Via Scarlatti: a "bridge to Posillipo" wanted by the Risanamento
Via Scarlatti

Via Scarlatti and the birth of Vomero

To talk about the history of via Scarlatti, one cannot fail to start from the panorama enjoyed by the Carthusians and those who lived within the walls of the Sant'Elmo Castle, before the great speculations of the early twentieth century and after the Second World War. Self via Francesco Cilea was described as "the way of the sun“, Because it turned out to be a green expanse on which the sun's rays struck, the current Via Scarlatti must certainly have a very similar appearance.

The whole area was never taken so much into consideration as when, in 1897, with the new designs of Remediation, this road was to be used to accompany those who needed to cross the area to get to the areas of Chiaia, Posillipo, Fuorigrotta and Soccavo. It was there Banca Tiberina to support the works, which, towards the end of the 1940s, to overcome the very strong difference in height between via Scarlatti and via Cilea, built a bridge and a ramp, demolishing Villa Doria e Villa De Marinis in one shot.

The boom of what today is in effect the beating heart of the Vomero district only took place in the 1990s. Before then, the road was "merely" a passageway, with buildings from the beginning of the last century, which still recall today that tranquility that once (incredibly) was possible to experience 24 hours a day. One of these collapsed in the 1970s and today it is famous for a well-known chain of clothes that for years has been placing its name on the glittering sign. Yet there was an ancient noble palace there, which had nothing to do with the appearance of the modern building.

Via Scarlatti: a "bridge to Posillipo" wanted by the Risanamento
The palace that took the place of the collapsed building in the 70s

With the project for the birth of a district dedicated to artists (37 to be precise, including musicians, painters, architects and sculptors), starting from the square of the same name, via Scarlatti took on this name to pay homage to the great composer from Palermo, not remembered enough . Ironically, this will become, over the years, the busiest street in the hilly neighborhood.

Via Scarlatti: a "bridge to Posillipo" wanted by the Risanamento
Via Scarlatti: a "bridge to Posillipo" wanted by the Risanamento

The historical shops

Anyone who had the opportunity to pass through the ancient via Scarlatti at the beginning of the twentieth century could not fail to notice the glorious Ideal cinema, strongly wanted by Cavalier Donnorso, where the Zara shop is today. It may seem strange, but until the Thirties in via Scarlatti there were about thirty shops, but only two were dedicated to clothing: there was a hat shop and a fabric shop. At number 201 there was the Vomero Arenella Police Station and at 110 the Anita Garibaldi girls' school. There were plane trees and very few street lamps that lit up the street, practically dark at night.

To the "Main street Alessandro Scarlatti“, Saturday 26 July 1913 opened the Bavaria Vomero, who for only two lire offered a lavish meal with accompanying wine. At number 104 there was Daniele, one of the most famous colonials in the area, while going down the street, at the beginning on the left the first shop was there delicatessen Tapperi. At number 97 Ruocco sold shoes, then there was Basile stationery and at 101 and 103 there was Giugliano, which for a few decades will sell the best appliances in the area.

Via Scarlatti: a "bridge to Posillipo" wanted by the Risanamento

Small curiosity

When the decision was made in the 1990s to make the street pedestrianized, traders were afraid that their sales might fade. There were demonstrations, protests, letters to councilors and councilors: pedestrianization would have brought only big losses. In the end, those who fought to free the street from the presence of cars and mopeds and the shopkeepers had to give up: sales tripled and in the blink of an eye even the owners of the neighboring businesses, in via Merliani and in via Alvino, they "sacrificed" themselves, allowing themselves to be pedestrianized on the stretches that intersect via Scarlatti.

Via Scarlatti: a "bridge to Posillipo" wanted by the Risanamento
A side street of via Scarlatti, via Merliani


Gino Doria, The streets of Naples, Riccardo Ricciardi Editore, 1979, Milan

Romualdo Marrone, The Streets of Naples, Newton and Compton Editore, 2007, Rome

Antonio La Gala, Vomero History and Stories, Guide, Naples, 2004

Become a supporter!

With a small contribution you will keep the largest cultural dissemination site in Campania alive! Many advantages for you


Bruno Calamaro 29 November 2021 - 8:58

But didn't the "seventies" collapse concern the building opposite? the one where Coin is now, I say. Not the one in which Upim was already at the time and now Benetton is (as shown in the photo published above).

Lucio Mirra 29 November 2021 - 18:46

That's right: the building that collapsed was the one where COIN is now and not the one in front of Benetton (where UPIM was).


Leave a comment

error: NOTICE: You can't copy the content!