a measure of weight = about 0.45 grams (or
0.016 ounces). The word, itself, means a
single “grape”; thus, it was used for light
(barrel): a measure of liquid volume still
used to measure petroleum, although today's
Joe Six-Pack doesn’t know how much “one
barrel” is except that it probably looks like
a barrel. In old Neapolitan usage, one barile
contained 60 caraffe. One caraffa
was about 0.72 liters (about ¾ of a quart).
(Today's 1 barrel of oil = ca. 160 liters =
ca. 42 US gallons/ca. 35 imperial gallons. And
it depends on the brewery, but Joe's surname
in the metric system is about two liters.)
A maritime unit for tonnage of vessels. It was
based on the botte, a wine container.
Roughly, one botte = about 500 liters; it
contained 12 barili (see
above). For purposes of measuring wine or
vegetable oil, two botti (i.e. 1000 liters)
made up one carro (wagon).
was subdivided into the salma
and the staio in the
same way as English measurement still speaks
of gallons being divided into quarts and
pints. One salma
was ca. 160 liters and, itself, was subdivided
into 16 staia.
(arm): Unit of linear measurement = about
half a meter. There was also a longer maritime
equal to ca. 1.6 meters.
(mile): a Neapolitan mile was 1,000 paces;
that is, 7000 palms or about 1850 meters (ca.
6,070 feet, curiously close to the English
nautical mile of 6,076 feet).
(league): not common in Naples, but if
found it probably referred to the Spanish unit
ca. 2.6 miles. The unit was abolished in the
Spanish empire (which Naples was part of) in
The standard unit of linear measurement in
commerce (measuring textiles, for example) and
construction. It was just over 2 meters and
was divided into 8 palmi (see
Unit of heavier weight common in maritime
usage = about 90 kilograms (almost 200
pounds). It was divided into rotoli
(plural of rotolo, see
(pound and ounce): Units of weight. There
were 12 ounces in the pound. The subdivision
of the ounce was the trappeso.
The pace. A unit of linear measurement = about
7 “palms” (above); i.e., just under 2 meters.
There was an older maritime passo,
Foot. Approx. one English foot or 1/3 of a
Unit of weight, somewhat lighter than 1
kilogram or a bit more than 2 pounds.
A unit of measure for dry volume such as grain
= ca. 55 liters (about one and one-half
The smallest unit of weight in the old
Neapolitan system and defined as the 1/1000
part of a rotolo or 1/20
of the acino.
These were silver and gold coins minted for
the monarch, Charles of Anjou, starting in
1278 in Naples at the beginning of the Angevin
dynasty. The coin was called a “carlino, ” a
diminutive of Carlo/Charles. The silver carlino
used by the Bourbons in the 18th and 19th
centuries was one-tenth of a ducato.
Smaller coins than the carlino
were the tarì,
These were silver or bronze. At the time of
the unification of Italy (1861), the
Neapolitan ducat was the unit used to convert
to the new Italian currency. The exchange was
4.25 lira to 1 ducat. (Very roughly, that
would be a unit of about 10 euros, today.)