Travel like an Italian: Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples (Napoli)

Photo via Tyson Williams Photography.

If you ever go to Naples, you can’t miss the sprawling Piazza del Plebiscito. It’s one of the largest piazze in the city and dates back to the early 19th century.

Although it was eventually named for the referendum that unified Italy, its construction was initiated by Napolean’s brother, Murat as a tribute to the emperor. This massive piazza is anchored on one side by the Royal Palace and on the other by the Church of San Francesco di Paola.

The Royal Palace most famously housed the Bourbon kings (I Borboni), but it pays tribute to the eight rulers in the history Kingdom of Naples with a line of statues lining the side that looks onto the Piazza.

The Church of San Francesco di Paola gives an imposing embrace to the opposite side of the square. When Joachim Murat first conceived the idea of the building and the square, it was not meant to be a church, but an extension of the royal brotherly tribute. The building was eventually converted, consecrated, and named for a 16th century monk who lived in the monastery that had occupied the land previously. The imposing pillars and domes remind one of the Pantheon, and it gives just the right flair of the dramatic to the west side of the piazza.

Today, Piazza del Plebiscito is a place for young lovers to park their scooters and embrace in the warm night air. It’s also a prime place to passeggiare, have a smoke, or people watch.

Under the stars and kissed by the salty mediterranean air, there is hardly a more beautiful place be on a Summer’s eve in Napoli.

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