Piazza del Plebiscito


For Continental grandeur, it's hard to beat Piazza del Plebiscito. Whichever way you look, the view is show-stopping. To the northwest, vine-covered slopes lead up to Castel Sant'Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino; to the east, the pink-hued Palazzo Reale shows off its oldest facade. And to the west stands Pietro Banchini's neoclassical facsimile of Rome's Pantheon, the Basilica di San Francesco di Paola.

A later addition to the columned colonnade of Joachim Murat's original 1809 piazza design, the church was commissioned by Ferdinand I in 1817 to celebrate the restoration of his kingdom after the Napoleonic interlude. Standing guard outside are Antonio Canova's statue of a galloping King Charles VII of the Bourbons and Antonio Calí's rendering of Charles' son Ferdinand I.

At its northern end, Piazza Plebiscito spills onto Piazza Trieste e Trento, the city's buzzing heart and home to its most glamorous cafe, Caffé Gambrinus.

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