Arata (1881–1962) was an architect born in Piacenza
and active primarily in Milan, Rome and Naples. He is from
the early 20th-century school of European architecture
that promoted Art Nouveau, known in Italy as "Liberty"
style. [see: art nouveau (1)(2)(3)]. His production tailed off
after the 1920s and he spent the later years of his life
writing and as a professor of architecture.
His work in Naples is
prominent if you know where to look. Especially in the
Chiaia section of the city, some of it is quite striking,
such as the Palazzo Mannanjuolo at the east end of via dei
Mille (photo on left of this paragraph) and the entire
block east of that square on via G. Filangieri, some of
which is seen in photo #1 (below), or the large
residential and office building at Piazza Amedeo (#2,
below) or the Palazzo Leonetti on via dei Mille
(#3 below). The Terme di Agnano—the Thermal Baths of
Agnano (photo at top of this page, and see this entry on Agnano)—was Arata's
grandest building in Naples. It was built in 1910/11 and
was not only Art Nouveau, but the even more ornamental
version common to World's Fair & Exposition
architecture popular at the turn of the 20th century in
many places. (The baths were torn down in 1961 after a
period of decay during and following WWII. It was replaced
by one of the squat and flat concrete people-hives of the
school so aptly and charmingly called "brutalist"
architecture.) The Palazzo Mannanjuolo is trickily
ornamental—there is even a spiral stairway. Arata seemed
to design with a sense of humor, dropping in Baroque and
even Renaissance anachronisms (photo #1). To me, that is
one of the most charming aspects of Neapolitan
architecture from the early 1900s.