The Botanical Garden of the University of Naples

An Outline of the History

The Botanical Garden of Naples was founded at the beginning of the 19th century at a time when this Partenopean city was dominated by the French. They carried out a plan which had been originally conceived by Ferdinand IV of Borbone and was prevented from being accomplished by a revolution in 1799.The decree of the founding of this structure bears the date 28th December 1807 and the signature of  King Giuseppe Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother. With article 1 of this decree all land owned in part by the monks of Santa Maria della Pace and by the hospital of Cava was dispossessed. Both of these were adjacent to the “Albergo dei poveri” and had been previously designated, during the Borboni era, to become "The Royal Botanical Garden" In the same article the purpose for the realization of this new structure was singled out and assigned to...."public instruction".... and to the ...."multiplication of beneficial species, to agriculture and to industry".

We can already deduce from this summons the modern elements on which the foundation of this Partenopean Garden was based and that has, from the beginning, been distinguished for its variety of functions and its diverse vegetal heritage.

The realization of this project was entrusted to the architects  de Fazio and Paelotti. De Fazio was responsible for the monumental façade and its style conformed to that of the adjacent "Palazzo Fuga" (Known as Albergo dei Poveri). The main drive perpendicular to the façade, the drive orthogonal to the main drive which  brings us to the Castle building (head office of the Institute) and the “temperate heater” characterized by a doric colonnade and shutters with revolving openers around central hinges. Paoletti was responsible for the planning and the realization of the lower part of the Garden.

By a decree on the 25th March 1810 Michele Tenore was nominated Director of The Botanical Garden. He had finished his studies under Vincenzo Petagna, inheriting from his teacher the passion for botany. He considered it to be not a part of the branch of medicine but an autonomous science. It was this conception of botany that led Tenore to scientifically organize the Garden in a completely new way compared with the previous Gardens of the simples.


Michele Tenore

Merola greenhouse


Copyright © Orto Botanico di Napoli, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II