Piazza Plebiscito houses one of the most representative basilicas in all of Naples. We are talking about the basilica of St. Francesco di Paola.
Built at the behest of the king of the two Sicilies Ferdinando I, this church was built between 1816 and 1846 by architect Pietro Bianchi, and is still one of the most admired and photographed architectural gems of our city.
According to some historical sources, the Bourbon king wanted to erect this church as an ex voto to offer to St. Francesco di Paola, to whom he was very devoted.
On one condition, however, that the dome should not exceed in height and majesty the Royal Palace that stands right in front of the same square. Probably this choice, made to underline the position of supremacy of the Bourbon royal house on ecclesiastical powers.
The architecture of this basilica is very complex and is of neo-classical inspiration. Outside it is formed by a large pronao and supported by six Ionic columns in Carrara marble that support the tympanum, on whose top is the statue of the Religion, on the left is that of San Francesco di Paola and on the right, the statue of San Ferdinando di Castiglia. On the sides there is a semi-circular colonnade that embraces the piazza while by extension. The dome is inspired by the Roman Pantheon and the Basilica of St. Pietro in Rome, obviously on a small stairs. Inside it is impossible not to be captured by the magnificence of the high altar decorated with polychrome marbles but especially by the numerous paintings, one above all, the one depicting St. Francesco di Paola that resurrects the young Alessandro realized by the master Vincenzo Camuccini.
The basilica today
The basilica today remains one of the icons of the city, a predominant element that makes Plebiscito certainly the most important and representative square of Naples, so as to receive in 1995 the coveted contribution by the Unesco cultural heritage and we are sure that the magnificence of the basilica he gave his very personal contribution.