Arte e Cultura

Parks in Naples

The green zones of Naples occupy an area of approximately three hundred hectares of town property and take on a vitally important role from both cultural and panoramic points of view.
The long public garden that separates the Riviera di Chiaia from the sea is the "Villa Comunale", commissioned to Vanvitelli in 1778 by King Ferdinand of Bourbon, who took inspiration from the Parisian Tuilieres.
The King desired a Royal Walk for the Neapolitan nobility.
In the park, the Neoclassical statues, small temples and fountains are surrounded by holm-oaks, pines and eucalypts.
There is also the Press Club and the oldest Aquarium in Europe.
Opposite the park is the "Villa Pignatelli", a Neoclassical residence which houses the Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes Museum and Picture Gallery.
Of great charm are the rooms with Neapolitan art from the 16th to early 20th centuries, and the English garden with the camellias, palm trees and magnificent magnolia grandiflora.
The Royal Palace residence from 1600 of the Vieceroys of Spain, Austria and the Bourbon and Savoy Royal families, has a splendid park which faces onto Piazza Plebiscito.
Many of the rooms in the Palace can be visited including the Flemihs room, the Chapel, the Historical Apartments and its Museum.
In the park of the Palace there is the Italy Garden with leafy camellias and the statue by Liberti, the small Romantic Garden and the Italian style roof garden in the courtyard of the Belvedere which is filled with trees and exotic species of flowers.
In Vomero, nestles in the greenery, there is the Charterhouse of San Martino.
Built to the orders of Charles dAnjou, it houses important collections from the National Archaeological Museum including the "Tavola Strozzi" (Strozzi Table) from the 15th century, the first map of the city and the Nativity Scene by "Cuciniello".
The Gothic Church with 17th century frescoes by Caracciolo, marble busts by Vaccaro and 16th century reading stand is charming.
A splendid example of 15th century Neapolitan art is found in trhe Grand Cloister, characterised by the Doric-Tuscan order of columns and the small Cemetery of the Charterhouse Monks with their white marble balusters topped by sculpted skulls.
Still in Vomero, there is the park of the "Villa Floridiana", built in 1816 as a gift from King Ferdinand I to his wife, the Duchess of Florida.
The Neoclassical villa houses the National Museum of Ceramics (with over 6,000 European and Oriental pieces) while the park is made up of panoramic avenues and gardens with over 150 species of flora, and the Teatrino della Verzura, an example of garden architecture.
On the Posillipo hill there is the "Virgilian Park", built in the Fascist era, from which one can admire the breathtaking views of the Gulfs of Naples and Pozzuoli.
Holm-oaks, olive trees, oaks, typical species of the mediterranean macchia such as myrtle and rosemary, flower beds and playground for children, make the park and relaxing oasis in the city.
From the same historical period there is the "Virgilian Park in Piedigrotta", where there are three items if interest: The Tomb of Giacomo Leopardi, constructed in 1934 in keeping with the typology of the Roman funerary cippus, the "Neapolitan Crypt" which was constructed by Cocceio in Ancient Roman times to connect Neapolis to the Plegraean area, and Mausoleum Tomb supposed to be of Virgil which is a Roman columbarium of the Augustan era.
The nature reserve of the "Astroni Crater" is splendid.
This WWF oasis, which covers 250 hectarer, includes a whole crater of the Phlegraean Fields.
The presence of numerous species of animals is characteristic of this reserve, as in the inversion of the vegetation, with a dense wood at the bottom of the crater, and Mediterranean vegetation at the top.
Again at the bottom of an ancient volcanic crater, visitors can admire the remains of the "Terme di Agnano" thermal spa baths, and the surrounding park with its rich variety of flowers, bushes and trees.
The "Stufe di San Germano" are famous natural caves with a dry microclimate that is ideal for dermatological, respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
The "Camaldoli Park" is names after the 14th century Camaldolese hermitage where monks prepared medical remedies using natural products.
The parks aim is to preserve of the character of the wood with its chestnut trees, Holm-oaks and other typical examples of the Mediterranean macchia, such as broom and erica arborea.
On the Capodimonte hilltop there is the "Capodimonte Park", which holds over 400 species of flora with centuries old trees, areas of lawn and exotic plants.
The park began as a hunting reserve for Charles III of Bourbon and it surrounds the Capodimonte Royal Palace whose picture gallery hosts the Farnese Collection and the collection of Capodimonte porcelain.
At the time of the park's conception, the species of trees were chosen according to the types of game that were to inhabit it.
At the foot of the hill there are the "Botanical Gardens".
Established in 1807, they are among the most important in Italy for their large size and calibre of the collections.
On twelve hectares of land, they house approximately 25,000 exemplars of 10,000 species of flora with water system and greenhouses that artificially recreate the required conditions of the plants natural habitats.
Of particular interest is the experimental section of officinal plants, as well as the Museum of Palaeobotany and Ethnologic Botany housed in the 17th century Castle.
Not far from Capodimonte, the establishment of the "Parco del Poggio" (Poggio Park) has permitted the restoration of the garden of Queen Isabella Villa.
Within its 4 hectares, the garden has terraces of broom and olive trees, a lake with bamboo and strelizia, a small botanical garden and a play area and a theatre.
Then there is the "Troisi Park", inaugurated in 1994, and previously known as the Taverna del Ferro Park", after the street in which it is found.
A pond and artificial hill are surrounded by pine trees and Mediterranean species such as tamaricaceae and poplar trees, and are species such as "Taxidium Distichum", a bald cypress from Florida.
There are just a few of the green wonders of the city which, combined with the historical and cultural charms of these places, make Naples an extraordinary destination for tourists from all over the world. (Carmen Grieco)


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