Maritime Museums in and around Naples
I’m surprised that Amalfi has no naval museum,
nothing to remind us that Amalfi was one of the four
maritime republics of medieval Italy. That fact is
recalled by the presence of the Amalfi coat of arms on
the modern flag of the Italian navy, along with the
other three: Pisa, Venice, and Genoa (all of which have
naval museums, I bet—but don’t know). That
is a quiz show question, by the way: Name the four
maritime republics of medieval Italy. Almost no one
remembers Amalfi. BUT see last entry on this page!
I checked. Genoa has TWO!; Venice, one; Palermo has
turned the old Bourbon shipyards into a naval museum;
Trieste has one; Nardò, near
Taranto, has one; Bologne
has one, as does La Spezia, Imperia, and Caravaggio (not
the painter, the town. See 45° 30' N,
9° 38' E). Pisa? I’m not sure, but at least they have
that tower thing. But Amalfi? The place where the first
Maritime Code, the so-called tavole amalfitane,
was formulated, a code that regulated maritime trade in
the Mediterranean for 500 years?
The place where Flavio Gioia invented the modern
compass? (Or so
they say.) They have a Farming
Museum and a Paper Museum. Go figure.
Naples, they could have turned the old and
the naval shipyards, into one, but they didn’t. That
part of the port definitively disappeared during the
great rebuilding of Naples, the risanamento, in 1900. So
if you want naval museums in and around Naples, here’s
what you’ve got:
1992 as part of the Nautical Technical Institute “Duca
di Abruzzi”. The museum
hosts a collection of models, nautical instruments,
and a library. (The above photo is of a display in the
Bagnoli museum.) Contact: Via di Pozzuoli 5, Naples,
tel: 081 617 3749.
1996, the museum is housed in the 17th-century
Palazzo dell’Orologio in the historic center of the
town of Ischia Porto on the island of Ischia. The
displays occupy seven rooms on three floors. There are exhibits of
nautical instruments, naval
uniforms, model ships, a philatelic exhibit of stamps
dedicated to the sea, and
a photographic exhibit dedicated to both the maritime
navy and commercial fishing fleet. Given the Greek and
Roman history of the area, the museum houses, as well,
a display of maritime archaeology. Contact: Via
Giovanni da Procida, 3, Ischia, tel: 081 981124.
is mostly a historical library dedicated to the
commercial fishing fleet on the island, a traditional
occupation of the people of the island. As well, there
is a section dedicated to maritime religious rituals.
The facility is administered by the Museum of the Sea
on Ischia. Contact: see Ischia (above).
the “Sezione navale” is an adjunct of the San
Martino National Museum and
is housed in that facility on the San Martino hill,
adjacent to the Sant’Elmo fortress. The
basis of the museum was a donation of the entire
collection of the shipyards at Castellammare
at the end of the 1800s.
An extensive display of models of the many ships built
and launched at Castellammare over the years, both
sailing and steam vessels. The museum is currently
undergoing restoration. [2009 update:] It is now open.
Contact: Largo San Martino 5, Napoli, Tel. 081-5781769
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