Cherokee Street/Via dei Tribunali

I thought the painting sitting in the window of El Torito Grocery Store looked familiar. Then I realized it; I had seen a similar composition, a scene of presumably the Virgin and Child saving souls from Purgatory, in the chapel of a church on the Via dei Tribunali, in Naples, Italy.

Neo-Classicism and Greek Revival: What is Really the Difference?

What is the difference between Neo-Classical architecture and the Greek Revival style? The key is in the proportions of the building; while the Romans certainly copied their architectural style from the ancient Greeks, they were also influenced by their northern neighbors, the Etruscans. Here is a primer on how to tell the difference. First, let’s…

Galleria Umberto, Naples, Italy

Update: This building bears a striking resemblance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. One of the most grandiose shopping malls in the world, the Galleria Umberto, built in the shadow of the Castel Nuovo and the port of Naples, dates to the late 19th Century. Open to the elements, but still featuring a glass roof,…

Barons’ Hall, Castel Nuovo, Naples, Italy

Up a long staircase in the courtyard of the Castel Nuovo in Naples, the Barons’ Hall is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture – in southern Italy. With a massive groin vault, the ceiling is unique in that its keystone is actually open in the middle with a small skylight. I have seen many Gothic…

Portal, Castel Nuovo, Naples

One of the major sculptural monuments of Renaissance Naples is the portal to the Castel Nuovo. Francesco Laurana’s double triumphal arch features scenes of a parade through the streets of the city. Abandoning the stiff, unnatural poses of the Medieval era, Laurana’s sculpture looks back to classical art and motifs for inspiration.

Castel Nuovo, Naples, Italy

Finished in 1282, the Castel Nuovo, or New Castle, provided the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily with a bastion in the city of Naples. The walls of this fortress are just unbelievably massive, meant to intimidate and repel attackers. The pointed stones and scalloped walls were designed to cause battering rams’ blows to glance…

Caserta, Campania, Italy

Every once and a while, I like to go back to the sources of much of St. Louis’s architecture. Usually, that means Europe. The palace at Caserta, built outside Naples in the Campania region of Italy, sits right on the edge of the mountains that rise dramatically from the plains around the port city. A…

Dumb Idea

  When I took my trip to the Bay of Naples last March, I thought it would be fun to rent a boat for myself and go around the island of Capri. As I approached the island by hydrofoil, it became obvious that taking a dinghy by myself was an incredibly stupid idea, as the…

Cumae, Campania, Italy

“Excisum Euboicae latus ingens rupis in antrum, quo lati ducunt aditus centum, ostia centum, unde ruunt totidem uoces, responsa Sibyllae.”