Piazza Municipio is one of Naples largest and most important piazzas. Yet at first glance, you might not even realise that it’s a piazza. The area is dominated by the 13th century Castel Nuovo, a symbol of the city’s strength and longevity, and a beacon greeting visitors arriving by sea. But beyond that, the construction of Naples Metro has obscured any sign that the area around the castle is a 1/2 km long piazza extending from Stazione Marittima at Porto Molo Beverello to the 19th century Palazzo San Giacomo.
And not just any piazza. With the seat of the Comune di Napoli and the office of the Mayor of Naples in Palazzo San Giacomo, it is Naples Municipal Piazza. It is also home to several important buildings: the 20th century Palazzo of the Bank of Italy; the 19th century Art Nouveau Grand Hotel de Londres, currently home to the Administrative Courts of the Campania Region; and the 18th century Teatro Mercadante.
Until the construction clears however, these buildings will continue to be obscured behind a haze of traffic, construction equipment, and temporary barriers that are adorned with weather worn photos of Napoli’s cultural heritage sites. A short term inconvenience, relatively speaking, that promises to yield tangible results.
At its completion, the new Municipio metro station will be a major transportation interchange. It will connect Metro Line 1 with Metro Line 6, integrate Naples Metro system with its busiest passenger port, usher visitors from the port to the city centre via a tree-lined pedestrian walkway, and return Piazza Municipio to its former glory – a stunning gateway to the city from the sea.
Serendipitously, extraordinary archaeological finds, including the hulls of three ships dating to the 2nd century AD, have been unearthed during the station’s construction. Many of these artefacts will be incorporated into the station’s design. Others, will continue to be housed in the National Archaeological Museum’s, Neapolis Station, which opened in the Museo Metro Station in 2005 to display artefacts being uncovered by the metro system excavations.