Villa Comunale


Villa Comunale, Chiaia.

Another Luigi Vanvitelli production, this long, leafy seaside strip was originally built for Bourbon royalty. Called the Passeggio Reale (Royal Walkway), it was off limits to the plebs except on 8 September, the day of the Festa di Piedigrotta. Rumour has it that taking one's wife to the park on that day was a clause in many a marital contract. Husbands across the city must have heaved a sigh of relief when the park finally went public in 1869.

Dividing the Riviera di Chiaia from Via Caracciolo and the sea, this urban oasis boasts a vintage aquarium, roller-skating rink, bandstand, tennis club and at least eight fountains. Named after the ducks that used to swim in it, the Fontana delle Paperelle (Duck Fountain) replaced the famous Toro Farnese which, in 1825, was transferred to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.