Words by Pat Eggleton - Capodimonte Palace picture by Golden Puppy

Every year in May the city of Naples celebrates its heritage with a festival during which visitors can obtain entry to cultural sites that are usually closed to the public, benefit from free guided tours and enjoy free entry to museums and other monuments over the five weekends of the event.

The theme for this year’s sixteenth edition of Maggio dei Monumenti is “Ritorno al Barocco e… non solo” [ “Return to the Baroque and… more”] and the city will show off its Baroque monuments and celebrate its past and contemporary cultural links with Spain. The Baroque flourished in Naples in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries under Spanish domination. The Capodimonte Palace and Albergo Reale dei Poveri were built in this period and some streets in Naples, such as via Toledo, have Spanish names to this day.

The inaugural event of the 2010 festival will be a concert by the Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor at the San Carlo Theatre. You may be wondering why the organisers have chosen an Irish artist to open this prestigious event for their city and the answer is that they admire O’Connor’s respect and support for the musical and cultural traditions of her own country. The singer will be introduced by Enzo Moscato.

Each weekend of the festival has its own theme:

  • 1 – 3 May: music

  • 8 – 10 May: theatre

  • 15 – 17 May: dance

  • 22 – 24 May: cinema

  • 29 May – 2 June: writers

The following free guided walks will be led by specialist guides and will be conducted in English, Italian and Spanish:

  • Weekend 1-3 May: Walk from Piazza del Duomo to Piazza del Gesù - (how to book this tour: tel. +39 081 8847251)

  • Weekend from 8 to 10 May: Walk from Castel Capuano to Porta Sant'Alba (how to book this tour: mobile:+39 3343133902 - e-mail: info@manievulcani.it)

  • Weekend 15-17 May: Walk from Castel dell'Ovo to Piazza San Domenico Maggiore (how to book this tour: tel: +39 0818531187 - e-mail: crasc@teatrodiricerca.it)

  • Weekend 22-24 May: Walk from Museo Archeologico to Teatro Romano (how to book this tour: tel: +39 081 5527104 - e-mail: info@less-onlus.org)

  • Weekend 29-2 June: Walk from Piazza Porta Nolana to Calenda (how to book this tour: e-mail: info@moonbow.it)

Check out this site for further details about the guided tours.
Maggio dei Monumenti 2009:

“Espana contemporanea”, an exhibition of contemporary Spanish art will be held throughout May in the splendid setting of the Castel dell’Ovo. This will draw parallels between the “modern Baroque” art of Spain and that of Naples.

Tickets for the inaugural concert can only be booked via the San Carlo Ticket Office.