Naples Soon to Be Home to “The Biggest Cultural Infrastructure in Europe”

As Albergo dei Poveri undergoes massive renovations to house educational quarters, dormitories, and numerous exhibition spaces.

Art
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Naples, once the home of lavish Roman villas and the city of Pompeii, has since given the world the joys of pizza, one of football’s most passionate fanbases, and not to mention, a haven for pickpocketing. The Southern Italian city will also soon host one “the biggest cultural infrastructure in Europe,” per a report by The Art Newspaper.

The city’s Albergo dei Poveri, Europe’s second largest public building, is currently undergoing renovations to house the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN). The former hospital was originally ordered to be built in 1751 by Carlo III, the Bourbon King of Naples and Sicily, who looked to shelter roughly 8,000 men, women, children and senior citizens. The panopticon concept never played out as planned, as the various families and groups inside did not get along once inside. Albergo dei Poveri suffered from a devastating earthquake in 1980, which destroyed a segment of its building, leaving it abandoned since.

MANN’s forthcoming space will feature a section devoted to the history of Pompeii, including recovered sculptures, jewelry, and interior furnishings. The museum will be complemented by classrooms and student dormitory spaces that are developed in conjunction with Naples’s Federico II University, which will also be the new home to the city’s National Library and various exhibition halls. Developed by Rome-based architecture firm ABDR, Albergo dei Poveri began development in April and is expected to open to the public in 2026.

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