Parks of Naples
A useful guide through the main parks and green areas in Naples.
We present you an overview of the green areas and parks of Naples, among more known sites and those that are a real surprise. From royal forests to new urban parks where one may relax, do sports and meet with friends.
La Villa San Michele a Capri and il Real Bosco di Capodimonte in Naples have won the competition entitled “Il parco più bello d’Italia” (“The prettiest parks in Italy”) that since several years promotes the green tourism in the country. Naples may seem to be a chaotic city, but with a little bit of patience and attention one may find here real corners of paradise, where the word “chaos” loses completely its meaning. Hence, we present you an overview of the green areas and parks of Naples. They consist in both sites of relax and wellness and locations of cultural events, movie projections, shows and many more. Departing from the seaside we cross Naples towards the hills in search of the green.
La Villa Comunale is a large garden between Riviera di Chiaia and the promenade of via Caracciolo. A walk two steps away from the blue of the sea. The main entrance is located on piazza Vittoria. Completed in 1780 and then amplified, it was ordered by the king Ferdinand IV of the Kingdom of Naples, who wished to establish a quiet and elegant location of encounter and relax for himself and for Neapolitan nobility. The tree-lined alleys have been adorned with neoclassical statues, small temples, fountains and a construction in cast-iron and glass. Nowadays the park houses various edifices, such as Journal Club and zoological park Anton Dohrn, where there is located the oldest aquarium in Europe. Abandoned in the 1970s-80s, the villa has been recently renovated, including the execution of new pavement, four kiosks, monuments, lighting installations and main gate.
La Floridiana is a museum complex that consists in a big park and a villa where the National Museum of the Ceramics Duca di Martina is located. Situated on Vomero hill, it has two entrances: from via Cimarosa and from a panoramic via Aniello Falcone. Opened every day from the morning until one hour before the sunset, the park offers a splendid view of the Gulf of Naples. The villa was constructed in the early 18th century and in 1816 the king Ferdinand I bought it in order to give it as a gift to his wife Lucia Migliaccio, a duchess of Floridia, from which the name of the villa derives. The Italian architect Niccolini executed a renovation of the former construction in neoclassical style and amplified the gardens by planting over 150 vegetal species, in collaboration with Friedrich Dehnhardt, the then director of the Botanic Garden in Naples. The works concluded, in 1819, the complex consisted of two villas (Villa Floridia and Villa Lucia, separated by a valley), a small open-air theatre, a round temple with Doric columns and a dome, artificial ruins, fountains, statues and greenhouses in neoclassical style. Purchased by the state in 1919, in the 1931 it became the museum of the biggest collection of European and Oriental decorative arts (the collection contains about 6000 objects), donated by the duke of Martina to the city of Naples. Nowadays, the park is a perfect place to escape from the urban chaos and to take a walk in a relaxing environment. In addition, more and more frequently it hosts various cultural events, theatre and music shows and other social and cultural initiatives.
Il Parco della Rimembranza, better known as Virgiliano, the park is located on the top of Capo Posillipo and it extends as a system of terraces. Capo Posillipo is an extremity of the Gulf of Naples, beyond which extends the Phlegraean area. The park offers breathtaking views of the whole gulf and enchanting sunsets full of colors and lights. Besides the Gulf of Naples and of Pozzuoli you may admire landscapes of Mount Vesuvius, Sorrento, Capri, Nisida, Bagnoli, capo Miseno, Procida and Ischia. Recently the park has been renovated and restyled. From that moment it has become a favorite place of youth where they may pass the time, do sports and relax. The park is open fourteen hours a day and provided with surveillance service.
Il bosco di Capodimonte, observed from the airplane seems to be green lungs of Naples. It extends on the surface of 130 hectares and houses over 400 species of plants and age-old trees. The forest has won an award for the most beautiful park in Italy. The park that surrounds the homonym royal palace was established as a royal hunting area, ordered by Charles III in 1734. The original plant of the area was designed by the architect Ferdinando Sanfelice and the square right beyond the entrance was completed by Fernando Fuga, who designed also four main alleys and the central one. It is less popular than Virgiliano, nevertheless it consists in the favorite location for the fans of sport and relax.
Neoclassical Villa Pignatelli, a mansion located on Riviera di Chiaia, in front of the park Villa Comunale, was ordered by sir Ferdinand Acton between 1826 and 1830. Then it became the propriety of the family Rothschild and finally was sold to the family Pignatelli Cortes d’Aragona. They made it become a prestigious place of meeting of regnants and aristocrats of whole Europe. In 1955 it was passed to the Italian state and transformed in the museum Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes. The interns house an important collection of paintings and other collections belonging to the Bank of Naples. From the whole complex the areas opened to public view are the following: two gardens (in the front and on the back of the edifice), rooms on the ground floor (with original furniture of that period), the first floor and the basement where there is the artistic collection dated back to the period between the 16th and 20th centuries. The villa hosts several music and cultural events as well as photography exhibitions.
Il Real Orto Botanico of Naples was established on foot of the Capodimonte hill, next to Real Albergo dei Poveri, the longest edifice in the city, on via Foria. Nowadays the complex is the seat of the faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, as well as an important site for a quantity of species of plants that it hosts: 10 thousand species from all around the world. The Botanic Garden is frequented mostly by students and experts of the sector, though it is also of interest of ordinary visitors keen to relax and escape from the city chaos.
Il Parco Vergiliano a Piedigrotta. Do not confuse it with Virgiliano park of Posillipo! This green area in the Piedigrotta district is not much known even by Neapolitans. It is in fact a small space in comparison with the surfaces of parks described before. Nevertheless, Parco Vergiliano a Piedigrotta consists in a very suggestive tourist attraction since it houses tombs of two famous poets: Virgil and Giacomo Leopardi. Moreover, it contains the tunnel called Crypta Neapolitana, constructed by Romans in order to connect the zones of Piedigrotta and Fuorigrotta. Today the gallery is closed for public because of the renovation process, except for its small part from the side of Fuorigrotta district.
Il Parco dei Camaldoli is located on the highest top of the city, the hill called Camaldoli. The name of the park derives from the 16th- century monastery. Opened recently, in 1996, the park has a surface of 135 hectares. Its establishment was decided as a consequence of the strategy aimed at limitation of the illegal housing that represents a threat to the territory of a high environmental and landscape value.
Il Parco del Poggio, in the hilly quarter of Colli Aminei is one of the last parks opened in the city. It was established on the area of the former abandoned tuff quarry in 2001. The location offers an alternative, suggestive panorama: one may decry the city centre with Mount Vesuvius on the background and the skyscrapers of the quarter of Centro Direzionale. The park has a terrace structure on different levels and it includes an open-air theatre situated on the artificial lake with cascades, that is a site of entertainment, shows, cultural and cinema events during long summer Neapolitan evenings.
La Riserva Naturale degli Astroni is a WWF reserve situated in the west part of the city. The surface covers over 250 hectares between Naples and Pozzuoli. The oasis is placed inside a former crater of 3 kilometers of diameter, formed 3.700 years ago, the largest in the zone of Phlegraean Fields.