No. 27
By Brian Robins
During the eighteenth century Naples was one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Europe. Hot, dirty and overcrowded, it was a city of teeming life and colour that flowed from court and church to the streets. To the French traveller Charles de Brosses, writing in 1739, it was Naples, not Rome that had the aura of a capital:
To my mind, Naples is the only city in Italy that really feels like a capital. The traffic, the large population, the continuous noise and chaos of the very many carriages, a brilliant court, the magnificent bearing of the local nobility… everything conspires to give Naples the lively and animated aspect which is possessed by London and Paris but which is totally absent in Rome. (Lettres historiques et critiques sur l’Italie [1739-1740])
[Remainder of article here]