The first mansion in Art Nouveau style in Naples
The Art Nouveau bloomed in Naples, as well as in the rest of Europe, in the early 20th century. Here, we present its first example in the city.
A walk through the district of Chiaia in order to discover the first mansion in Art Nouveau style in Naples, adorned with rich decorations and typical architectural elements of the Neapolitan Belle Epoque, when the Seine waters was “flowing into” the Neapolitan sea. The Palazzo Acquaviva Coppola is situated between via del Parco Margherita and via San Pasquale, in the Chiaia district. It is considered the first mansion in the Art Nouveau style in the city. Its construction was a part of a bigger architectural and urban project that included all the present area of Chiaia that together with the Vomero district are the zones of the city where the buildings of Belle Epoque are located.
The edifice, designed by the Italian engineer Augusto Acquaviva Coppola in 1912, combines the Neapolitan trends with some elements of the European Art Nouveau tradition, inspired mostly by the Viennese secession by Otto Wagner. The mansion is constructed on a slope and as a consequence surrounded by two roads located on different levels (via del Parco Margherita and via San Pasquale). It is divided in two apparently separated parts. Ground floor of the building houses Teatro Sancarluccio, the theater designed by the scenographer Bruno Garofalo.
From memoirs of the first managers of the theatre, Pina Cipriani and Franco Nico one can find out that it was arranged in the former antique shop in 1972.
La Cavallerizza. The Palazzo Acquaviva Coppola is located under the number 48 of via San Pasquale a Chiaia in the homonym district, that is a part of the quarter of Cavallerizza, established in 1920 by the architect of the mentioned mansion, engineer Augusto Acquaviva Coppola. Nowadays the zone is known as Chiaia. Let’s make things clear: in the period of the Roman Empire, the antique hamlet of Chiaia (composed by Largo Ferrandina, Largo Vasto a Chiaia, via S.Teresa a Chiaia, via Piscicelli and vico S. Maria in Portico) connected the gate of Chiaia (called the Roman gate) with the seacoast of Chiaia, today called Riviera di Chiaia, and then continued towards Puteoli (former name of Pozzuoli) through an antique tunnel, called Crypta Neapolitana, being the first part of an ancient road named “strada puteolana”. The king Charles III of Spain had it become military road and ordered the construction of a new complex destined for the cavalry on the present Largo Ferrandina.
La Cavallerizza was a structure adjacent to Palazzo Reale (Piazza del Plebiscito) consisting of stables and barracks, as well as a storage of vehicles and handling space; from that moment the street and the hamlet have been called Cavallerizza. Then, the initial part of the road was named strada Alabardieri, deriving from a regiment located in the former monastery of Santa Caterina a Chiaia.
Nowadays via Cavallerizza consists in a popular pedestrian area with several shops of every kind, bars, pubs and nightlife locations.