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Piazza del Plebiscito

Piazza del Plebiscito (formerly Largo di Palazzo or Foro Regio) is one of the most beautiful and characteristic squares in Naples whose name is due to the plebiscite which, in October 1860, had established the annexation of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies to the Kingdom of Sardinia.

 The true story of Piazza del Plebiscito begins just when the Royal Palace was completed, when Domenico Fontana, one of the famous architects of the building, decided to design a “Largo di Palazzo” that no longer turned towards the “Toledana road”, but towards the nascent widening, built as if it were a scenographic architectural backdrop that made the city dialogue with the opening towards the sea.

 Piazza del Plebiscito has a very particular shape.  Its structure is half semicircular (the one that starts from the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola in the middle of the square surrounded by the colonnade) and half rectangular, from the closing of the hemicycle to the Royal Palace.  Located in the historic center of the city, between the seafront and via Toledo, the square is about 25,000 square meters wide.  For this reason it is often used as a location for large events, such as concerts or fairs.

 As tradition dictates, once they arrive in Piazza del Plebiscito, tourists but also the Neapolitans themselves try their hand at a particular game: to cross the square blindfolded.  The challenge consists in making a person blindfolded from the Royal Palace walk towards the two statues of horses placed in the center of the square.  A mission, apparently, impossible, given the natural slope of the square that will always and in any case tend to make the blindfolded person veer making a straight path towards the two statues impossible.  Inevitably, the brave on duty will find himself on the other side of the square, to the right or left, without even realizing it.

 According to the legend it is a curse launched by Queen Margherita of Savoy who forced the prisoners to cross the square blindfolded to save their lives.  But no one, of course, could do it.  The most logical explanation, on the other hand, concerns the cobblestones that cover the square, arranged in a non-straight way, so as to lead anyone (obviously blindfolded) from one side of the square to the other without ever going straight ahead.