The street currently known as Porta Medina (Medina Gate) or “Station of the Cumana Railway” is commonly regarded as a featureless place, a straight road connecting one area to another, and yet today it keeps the traces of important events of the past and still provides a clue to the urban development of the city. However, the traces of the past are barely visible under its new, modern appearance.

The amount of time people spend here is always shorter and more fleeting, as Porta Medina has become just a street to reach the center of the city or on the way to somewhere else. Nevertheless, this street, formerly an access route to the city, still keeps its identity and has become both a common good and a way to approach our past, with crumbling houses marking the ancient road.

The black walls of the buildings represent the future: featureless materials mixed with fragmented stones. Asphalt and concrete replace what is merely old but still valid. Porta Medina has changed its appearance because of the historical events of our century, but keeps its spirit alive: a street made up of people and buildings, limbs and pillars. Despite the new, frantic way of life, it continues to be the place where you can enjoy a long pause, a place not touched by people running and new spaces.

The porta (Gate) is located in the lower Decumanus of the Greek Naples, near the walls built by Frederick of Naples in the western part of the city, and was designed to facilitate communications with the hinterland of Naples.

The Gate was commissioned by the viceroy Ramiro Guzman to Cosimo Fanzano, Duke of Medina. Via Porta Medina originated as the main street of the Spirito Santo neighborhood, located beyond the ancient Porta Reale (Royal Gate).

The initial features of the street can be reconstructed not only thanks to the visible traces of the past, but also by means of a map drawn by Lafrery in 1566, which clearly shows the borders separating the place from former S. Chiara and the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Neighborhoods).

Don Fabrizio Pignatelli worked for the development of the area surrounding the Gate, as he played in important role in the development of buildings between 1500 and 1600. After being granted the right to build outside the royal walls, the Pignatelli family built houses – as well as the hospital and the church – and enlarged the previous borders of the city. Despite the fact that the first structure erected by Don Fabrizio has disappeared, the hospital is still there after more than one hundred and fifty years.
The Santa Maria Mater Domini Church demonstrates how Fabrizio Pignatelli worked hard within the Catholic Church, and devoted part of his life to the pilgrims.
Today, the Porta Medina Hospital looks like a featureless building: not an impressive structure, but a crowded one. People who worked with a sense of duty within its walls have written its history over the years.


Getting there

41, Via Portamedina

80134 Napoli

See the Map

Opening hours

Monday - Saturday

from 9 am to 2 pm

Ph. (+39) 081 5518957

Reservations required

Book the tour