Flag of Naples: mystery on its birth
Naples has always been a city rich in history as well as legends and its flag is an example. The institutional colors of the city are red and gold, which are also found in the coat of arms, a shield surmounted by a turreted crown. The origin of this pattern is not yet certain, but there are various theories, more or less reliable, that explain its evolution.
Let's get to know them together.
Flag of Naples: its colors
Between the different hypotheses that would explain the origin and the meaning of the colors of the Neapolitan flag, three are the most accredited, even if they don't have a real historical foundation.
The first one says that red and gold would be the symbol of the pagan cult of the sun and the moon. If this theory holds any truth, their use dates back to at least the first centuries of Christianity, when the people were still very fond of the old pagan gods.
The second hypothesis, on the other hand, dates back the origin of the flag to 324 d.c. when the emperor Constantine entered the city together with his mother Elena; apparently the flags of the cheering people had those same colors.
According to the third hypothesis, finally, with flags in red and gold the military victories of Naples were celebrated at the time of the independent Duchy, between 755 and 1027.
The only certain fact is that the flag of Naples has undergone many changes over the course of its long history, to be often replaced by the ones of the various conquerors, but has never completely disappeared. Its colors are intact at least since 1325, considering that a parchment dating back to that year shows the city's emblem in red and gold.
Flag of Naples: changes over the centuries
Apparently it was only a coincidence that the house of Aragon had the same colors of the flag of Naples and its emblem, which already existed, but perhaps this has contributed to the survival of the city's symbols.
In 1647, at the time of Masaniello's revolt, they were certainly still used. At the center of the shield was the letter P, to celebrate the supremacy of the people. This was later replaced by a C that stood for civitas. A version of the emblem bearing the letter C, in fact, is still visible in Via Monteoliveto, on the fountain of King Charles II.
The crown we can see today above the shield dates back to 1866. That year, the old ducal crown was replaced by the turreted one that still exists and is a symbol of freedom and independence.
During the Bourbon domination the flag of Naples was incorporated into the very complicated coat of arms of the royal family, togheter with those of all the other territories owned by the Bourbons.
In the Fascist era, finally, a fascist beam was added, to be erased later on, following the fall of the regime. Since then Naples' flag has remained virtually unchanged.
Fun facts about on the flag of Naples
In medieval times, Naples had a horse between its main symbols. This image hasn't completely disappeared, in fact even today the symbol of the metropolitan city of Naples is a golden shield with a horse in the middle.
The Neapolitan coat of arms was rarely represented in an oval form instead of a rectangular shield. A beautiful example can still be admired today in Palazzo San Giacomo, where the magnificent wooden portal of the Pignatiello hall is surmounted by an oval shield.
According to heraldry the gold, the color of the sun, represents richness and strength, while red, the color of fire, is a symbol of justice and love of God. Generally, the flag and the emblem carry the same colors, but rotated by 90 ° , the flag of Naples is an example.
During its short life, the flag of the Neapolitan Republic was inspired by the French tricolor, but instead of white the Neapolitans wanted gold. The republican tricolor, therefore, was blue, yellow and red.