UMBERTO I GALLERY

In the spirit of renewal spreading in the after cholera time, and driven by the housing situation , a committee examined the possibility of immediate realization of projects for the remediation of areas, such as St.Brigida district, close to the Royal Palace. The buildings had a dignified look, but you could not say the same for the interiors, in the streets crossing the center towered dilapidated buildings in the height of six floors.

There were also buildings of particular architectural interest such as the Church of St. Brigida and the one of St. Ferdinand .

In the four projects examined by the government for the restoration, it was common the need to improve the view to the San Carlo (St. Charels) Theater. Engineer Alfredo Cottrau in the name of morality and hygiene , proposed restructuring the entire area, the project involved the demolition of the church of St. Ferdinand which according to the engineer, was an obstacle to the expansion of the theater. The proposal aroused much criticism and failed.

Engineer Emanuele Rocco presented a project that involved the construction of four large buildings managed by a large gallery of iron and glass of 1076 square meters.

The four arms of different length, intersecting, gave rise to an octagonal cross covered by a wide dome. The most important buildings are still preserved, as well as an exedra colonnade near the St. Charles Theatre, that would create an open space in front of the theatre, allowing a greater visibility .

During the execution phase there were several changes, the work proceeded speedily and in 1892 the mayor Nicola Amore inaugurated the Umberto I Gallery, and for that occasion an exhibition of artistic handworkers and industrial products was held.

The construction speed is to be put in relation with the great possibilities of earnings this area promised, being an important commercial spot. Furthermore, reasons of prestige and decorum pushed the city authorities to a record time realization, as proof of their administrative ability.

The Gallery became a symbol of the bourgeois class in opposition to the urban landscape surroundings, which lived a strong architectural emergency. For a long time the Gallery was the living center of the cultural and commercial town, satisfying the function for which it was intended .

UMBERTO I GALLERY

UMBERTO I GALLERY

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