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November 9, 2021

Fascinating Vintage Black-and-White Photos of Naples in the 1950s

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest city of Italy, after Rome and Milan. The city’s historic center, which is the largest of its kind in Europe and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drips heavily with the charm of the old world, from clothes hanging on wires stretched between houses to fish shops on the sidewalk or pasticcerias near churches. Near the Old Town is a wide range of culturally and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Naples is also known for its natural beauties, such as Posillipo, Phlegraean Fields, Nisida, and Vesuvius.

In the 1950s, Naples was still in the middle of the post-war recovery. Before the Second World War, the city had already been poor, but the socioeconomic situation became even worse afterward. Education was considered a luxury at the time: only two children out of ten actually made it to middle school, even though schooling was compulsory until the age of 14. The city, while rich in culture, was also a place of deeply-rooted organize crime. Violence was a daily thing to many people, both at home and outside.

Take a look back at life in the city in the 1950s through these 20 fascinating vintage black-and-white photographs: 

Man resting at a pier.

Street organ. (Angelo Cozzi)

Children playing.

Flooring pavement.


Children hanging on a tram.

Under the Nile statue in the Old Town.

Popular street.

Handmade roulette.

Ticket inspectors.

State lottery office.

Craft jobs in the street.

Workers and seamen at a harbour.

Having a break.

Second-hand clothes on display.

Street in the Old Town. (Mario De Biasi)

Monkey show.

Palm reading.

Lotto betting shop. (Mario De Biasi)

Peddler with his pram. (Mario De Biasi)


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