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 ruled as the King of the Two Siclies from 1816 – 1825. It was this final return to the throne for which Ferdinand I erected his larger than life ex voto, the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola, 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 and is a rare example of the Neo-Classical style in Naples. The Basilica sits at the center of a hemicycle of 38 Doric columns that dominates Naples famed Piazza del Plebiscito. The Piazza was built as part of a redevelopment project of the area that was then known as Largo di Palazzo.