The Bourbon ruler Ferdinand I, who was alternately known as Ferdinand IV, Ferdinand III of Sicily and Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies had a long and tumultuous reign of Naples. In fact, he ruled on again and off again from 1759 to 1825. For his final act, he was the King of the Two Siclies from 1816 – 1825. And it was this final return to the throne for which Ferdinand I erected this larger than life ex voto, the Basilica of San Francesco di Paoala dedicated to the saint of the same name.
Naples own version of the Roman Pantheon without the crowds, this 19th century Basilica is a star in its own right. A rare example of the Neo-Classical style in Naples, the Basilica sits at the center of a hemicycle of 38 Doric columns. Dominating Naples famed Piazza del Plebiscito, it was built as part of a redevelopment project of the area that was then known as Largo di Palazzo. The work of architect Pietro Bianchi it was completed in 1846.
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