In Norman times, a watchtower called “Belforte” was built on Sant Elmo hill.
Under the Angevins, the first villas and palaces were built on the hill. In 1325, Charles, Duke of Calabria, son of King Robert, founded the Charterhouse of St. Martin (Certosa San Martino).
In 1329 the same Charles began the construction of the Castle Sant’Elmo, contiguous to the Charterhouse, at the very place where the watchtower stood.
The work was completed in 1343, but the building then went through many transformations.
In 1535 Charles V ordered the viceroy of Toledo to build a new castle on the site of the watchtowers: the plan was chosen in star so that he could control the whole city and the surrounding areas.
At this time the urbanization between the city center and the hill Sant Elmo experienced a strong expansion, according to some thanks to the fame of cleanliness which boasted the district, for the others, rather to slow down the migratory flow towards the capital.
In the seventeenth century the whole hill began to become built with villas.
In the eighteenth century, the Vomero was the favorite place for vacationing.
The Castle Sant Elmo assisted, in 1799, with the birth of the Neapolitan Republic, when from France, the first echoes of the revolution arrived at Naples.
The patriots had raised the tree of liberty, and the day before proclaimed the “Neapolitan Republic, one and indivisible,” they declared the fall of the monarchy. The conquest of the fort took place quickly and the royalists were imprisoned there.
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