The Spanish Quarters, or simply “I Quartieri”, an historic part of the city of Naples in Montecalvario district, arise in the sixteenth century when the Spanish crown “conquest” the Neapolitan kingdom.

FOQUS per i Quartieri Spagnoli

The viceroy Pedro de Toledo in 1532 establishes the reorganization of the urban layout that runs along the new route “via Toledo” (named after him): the east area of the street, strategically close to New Castle and to the Viceregal palace, the centers of political power, is assigned as accommodation for the Spanish troops and for their families. Thus the Spanish Quarters were born, set on a checkerboard scheme with six parallel streets of Via Toledo and numerous other small perpendicular streets. They are the evidence of a real ‘proletarian’ migration across the Mediterranean, from Spain to the southern Viceregal capital, which will mark the appearance and even then the prevailing social fabric of the neighborhood, influencing every development and every noble resistance to the new military and political power.

Quartieri spagnoli

The original buildings, on one level, rise over time up to reach even five floors, to face up to the chronic shortage of housing for a growing population.

During the last glimpse of the Nineteenth Century, the urgent need to find a new expansion of housing area within the city will engage the radical mutation along the hill of Vomero, which will involve the western slope of the Quarters.



Today, the Montecalvario district has a population concentration of 29,917 people di 29.917 persone

(four times more than average, already high in the city): a small town within the historical city center.



The 19.1% of the inhabitants is composed by foreign population



16,4% one of the higher percentages of female presence of the city.


0,6 square meters per inhabitant

The availability of public green areas is the lowest (0,6 square meters per inhabitant)

and the lack of personal services is significant: just the 0.2% of the requests for children services despite the 10% of the neapolitan minors is residing in the district. In the district of Montecalvario is concentrated the highest risk of deviant behaviour at an early age and it has the highest percentage of young people (between 8 and 14 years) leaving school early and the highest rate of unemployment and inactivity in Naples.

After sacrificing to the building the last green spaces towards the hill of San Martino, since then and still more the Spanish Quarters assume a shape as one of the most disadvantaged and densely populated areas in the city: an orthogonal road grid, thick and with a very high human density, which hides unexpected open and wide spaces, among historic buildings and baroque churches, alternating with the “bassi” (basement flats) narrow as the legend goes, but often cleaned and cared as the standard social housing will never be. A socially problematic area characterized by precariousness and degradation, poorly integrated into the urban fabric of one of the major Italian cities. It is the symbol of the contemporary city’s contradictions and inappropriateness of the usual public policies.

Portacarrese a Montecalvario, 69 Naples
tel +39 081 19 17 4938   fax +39 081 401986
cell +39 328 4218405
Portacarrese a Montecalvario, 69 Naples
tel +39 081 19 17 4938   fax +39 081 401986
cell +39 328 4218405