Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

entry May 2008

                The Port of Molosiglio, Nazario Sauro and Some Perspective on WW1

Molosiglio is a “porticciuolo” —a small port— directly below the southern façade of the Royal Palace in Naples. It is one of the three small harbors in Naples that has berths for small private boats. The other two are Mergellina and Borgo Marinaro (the Castel dell’Ovo). Of the three, only Mergellina has commercial hydrofoil service (to Capri); Mergellina and Molosiglio are only for small pleasure craft.

Molosiglio is a box port open on the south and protected by a 160 meter breakwater running to the south-east. It has berthing for 150 boats (maximum length, 14 meters). Entrance is from the west side of the main sea wall of the main port of Naples. (For sailors, the exact coordinates are 40°49',99 N 14°15',53 E.) Molosiglio and the small military port adjacent to it on the east are on the site of the old Naples arsenale, the military shipyard, and were the waters that abutted the famous Santa Lucia section of Naples. That portion of the coast was changed significantly by new sea-side construction during the risanamento, the urban renewal project at the turn of the 20th century. Thus, Molosiglio abuts on the west many square blocks of new hotels along the long street named via Partenope and then via Nazario Sauro*, blocks that essentially sit where the waters of old Santa Lucia used to be.

*Nazario Sauro (1880 – 1916) was an Austrian-born Italian irredentist* and sailor (*promoting the incorporation of Italian-speaking areas in the northern border areas into Italy. That gets messy since many inhabitants to the northeast of Italy are speakers of Italian.) He was active in the early months of WWI in the Italian navy and was captured in an act of sabotage. He was tried and hanged. He is regarded as an Italian national hero.

                                                                            Perspective on WW1

    World War I or the First World War, began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. Referred to at the time
as the "Great War", belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, the United States, and the Ottoman Empire,
    New technology, including the airplane, trench warfare, and especially chemical weapons made it one of the deadliest
conflicts in history. An estimated 9 million soldiers died in combat, with another 5 million civilian deaths as a result of
military actions, hunger and disease. Millions more died in genocides within the Ottoman Empire and the 1918 influenza pandemic.
    By 1914, the European great powers were divided between the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and Britain, and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Tensions in the Balkans came to a head in June 1914 following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia and Russia came to  Serbia's defence following Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia on 28 July. By 4 August, the dominoes had tumbled and the system of alliances drew in Germany, France, and Britain, although Italy remained neutral. In November 1914 the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Austria-Hungary formed the Central Powers, while in April 1915, Italy joined Britain, France, Russia and Serbia as the Allies.  The Triple Entente vs the Triple Alliance turned into The Allies vs The Central Powers. Note that date for Italy. Italian dates on memorials always give the dates for WW1 as 1915-1918. Italy was less concerned with the dispute between the two "sides" than it was about finishing the creation of modern Italy. Italy also refers to the Great War as the Fourth Italian War of Independence, which completed the last stage of Italian unification, a process that had started in 1860.
    If you think all that is very complicated, you're right.

The area of Molosiglio is served by the main portside road, via Acton. There is a small park between the road and the port, itself. There is an abundance of greenery, but the park has deteriorated beyond belief. The large pool and fountain would be a cess-pool except for the fact that there is no water. The basin is full of debris and the fountain is overgrown with weeds. That situation has been the target of numerous complaints and one now hopes for the best.

                               to urban portal            to top of this page

© 2002 - 20223/font>