The May of Monuments

The 22nd edi­tion of Naples’s main spring cul­tural event or­ga­nized by the City of Naples will be ded­i­cated to Charles III Bour­bon and Gio­vanni Paisiello

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Ap­prox­i­mately forty days of events and ini­tia­tives to cel­e­brate two il­lus­tri­ous mem­bers of Neapoli­tan his­tory who con­trib­uted to el­e­vat­ing our city to the role of a splen­did cap­i­tal of cul­ture, mu­sic and the arts: King Charles III of Bour­bon, the ter­cente­nary of whose birth is be­ing cel­e­brated this year, and com­poser Gio­vanni Paisiello, the bi­cen­te­nary of whose birth is also be­ing cel­e­brated this year. The May of Monuments, the most im­por­tant spring cul­tural event in Naples, is ded­i­cated to these prom­i­nent his­tor­i­cal fig­ures. To mark the oc­ca­sion, from 23 April to 2 June, the city will be an­i­mated by a se­ries of events, per­for­mances, ex­hi­bi­tions and late-night openings of places of art and cul­ture pro­moted by the Depart­ment

of Cul­ture and Tourism of the City of Naples in a bid to dis­cover and cel­e­brate Naples’s rich his­toric, artis­tic and mu­si­cal her­itage. Charles III of Bour­bon played a key role in the his­tory of South­ern Italy. He was born in Madrid on 20 Jan­uary 1716, he be­came the king of Naples and Si­cily in 1735 and, sub­se­quently, the king of Spain, un­der the names Charles III. Upon suc­ceed­ing to the Span­ish throne, Charles, ab­di­cated the Neapoli­tan and Si­cil­ian thrones in favour of Fer­di­nand, his third sur­viv­ing son. Un­der the rule of Charles, fol­low­ing cen­turies of for­eign dom­i­na­tion, Naples fi­nally gained a sov­er­eign of its own. His reign co­in­cided with the first stage of Euro­pean en­light­en­ment and the re­for­ma­tory projects in­spired by him and as­so­ci­ated with it. Dur­ing those years, Naples was en­hanced by mag­nif­i­cent monuments and build­ings. In fact, Naples owes the con­struc­tion of the Reg­gia di Caserta, Teatro San Carlo, the old­est opera house in Europe, built in 270 days and in­au­gu­rated on 4 Novem­ber 1737, the King’s saint’s day, the Reg­gia di Capodimonte, the Real Albergo dei Poveri and the Foro Carolino to Charles of Bour­bon. More­over, he was also re­spon­si­ble for ini­ti­at­ing the ex­ca­va­tions of Pom­peii and Her­cu­la­neum and for the dis­cov­ery of

Ve­su­vian ar­chae­ol­ogy. In ad­di­tion to giv­ing the city a new, mod­ern, Euro­pean look, Charles III was also an in­cred­i­ble in­no­va­tor: it is to him that the city owes the flour­ish­ing of the arts. He fu­elled a re­newed in­ter­est in lit­er­a­ture, sculp­ture, ar­chi­tec­ture and, above all, mu­sic by wel­com­ing sev­eral of the city’s most emi­nent writ­ers, artists, sculp­tors and mu­si­cians to his court. The Neapoli­tan school, which sub­se­quently in­flu­enced the whole of Europe and whose ex­po­nents were Domenico Ci­marosa, Ni­cola An­to­nio Zin­garelli, Domenico Scar­latti, Francesco Proven­zale, Francesco Durante, Francesco Feo, Ni­cola Por­pora, Nic­colò Jom­melli and Gae­tano Greco, was es­tab­lished dur­ing his reign. By sin­gu­lar co­in­ci­dence, the three hun­dredth an­niver­sary of the birth of Charles III of Bour­bon hap­pens to co­in­cide with the bi­cen­te­nary of the late Gio­vanni Paisiello, one of the great­est com­posers of all times. Pugliese by birth but Neapoli­tan by adop­tion,

Paisiello was one of the key ex­po­nents of the glo­ri­ous Neapoli­tan school of mu­sic, ac­claimed through­out the courts of Europe. Paisiello, who died in Naples in 1816, com­posed sev­eral of the world’s most un­for­get­table op­eras in­clud­ing ‘The Bar­ber of Seville’, ‘La Moli­nara’ and ‘Nina’ or ‘The Girl Driven Crazy By Love’, to men­tion but a few. The main places in­volved in the May of Monuments events in­clude the Capodimonte Mu­seum, the Royal Palace, Teatro San Carlo, the Na­tional Li­brary, the Naples Academy of Fine Arts, the Con­ser­va­tory of San Pi­etro in Ma­jella, Cas­tel dell’Ovo and the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tions of Pausi­ly­pon. The 2016 edi­tion of the May of Monuments also in­cludes a sec­tion en­ti­tled ‘Naples for famiglie’. De­signed es­pe­cially for young­sters, it fea­tures ac­tiv­i­ties and child-friendly tours for a truly spe­cial, Made-in-Naples ex­pe­ri­ences.

Cas­tel dell'Ovo

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