NAPLES – THE LAST DECADES AS A CAPITAL

Naples image during the second Bourbon restoration is certainly disappointing.

Ferdinand tried to adopt a conciliatory policy towards the bourgeoisie, accommodating the political and social rise with the purpose of putting an end to the strong isolation which hit the Bourbon Dynasty.

But it did not happen so, and shortly the first revolutionary movements burst, when at first the province and than the town center were protagonists.

The short Ferdinand I’s reign, shaped on neutrality, could not solve the environment degradation problems plaguing ancient Naples. An image about Naples asleep in the restoration is given by Stendahl in his work “Rome, Naples, Florence” telling the conditions in which Naples lived and expressing at the best the appeal spread by the city on that author.

Ferdinand II ascended the throne when he was just twenty in 1830 and he tried to discuss the relations with political men and intellectuals who found a rather good support during that cultural growth. Naples became a good social life center with many theatres appearing operative.

Many exiles, escaped from the Bourbon repression, returned and among those there was Antonio Ranieri who described the political and cultural life in the capital by his work “State of literature in Naples and Sicily”(1883).

Many cultural magazines flourished having the aim of educating the population to homeland love. The most successful magazine was “Il Progresso” by Giuseppe Ricciardi. G. Ricciardi believed progress at the base of historicism starting the behavior which makes us think today is better than yesterday.

Many critic opinions were started by Leopardi who thought progress not good for man, as man is only seeking happiness.

In addition we have some memories production by the protagonists of Risorgimento, witnesses suffering in Bourbon jails, among whom was Guglielmo Pepe accusing in his work “Memories – 1848” the heavy Bourbon repression.

Luigi Settembrini, by his work “Memories from my life” – 1879, an autobiography, describes the repression hitting many intellectuals, and the bourbon motto: teaching = conspiring, as the Bourbons well understood the dangerous action of intellectuals.

In spite of many signals about cultural growth and new public renovating works, unemployment and overpopulation weighed on the kingdom. Between 1836-1837 there was a large cholera crisis.

In 1859-50 Francis II ascended the throne. It was the year of the One thousand expedition and the arrival of Garibaldi in The Two Sicilys Kingdom with the aim of conquering it in the name of Victor Emanuel.

By the annexation to the Kingdom of Savoy and Victor Emanuel as King, the town tuned its page.

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