Naples:life,death &
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Giulio Ulisse Arata

Giulio Ulisse 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.

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