There’s an arcade in Naples that they call the Galleria Umberto Primo. It’s a cross between a railroad station and a church. Once this Galleria had a dome of glass, but the bombing of Naples shattered this skylight, and tinkling glass fell like cruel snow to the pavement. But life went on in the Galleria. In August 1944, it was the unofficial heart of Naples. John Horne Burns, The Gallery
The glass has long since been replaced and Galleria Umberto I is once again an epicenter of Neapolitan life. An upscale shopping mall and home to a swank art hotel, for some it’s just a place to grab a caffe, cornetto and a bit of conversation. For others it’s a cut-through from the chic shopping street of Via Toledo to the transportation hub that sits in front of the Galleria across from the San Carlo Theater. For others still, it is a place to stop and break out into song, or dance.
One of those places you just don’t want to miss, with it’s iron and glass construction it’s a rare example of “industrial architecture” in Naples. Based on Giuseppe Mengoni’s design for the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1863 – 1875), Galleria Umberto I (1885 – 1892) was designed by Emanuele Rocco and Francesco Paolo Boubèe as a covered passageway connecting the San Carlo Theater to Via Roma.