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The pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi is situated in the Sanità district, Naples, since 1951

The pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi has always been “the” pizzeria of the Sanità district since its founding in 1951. Its story and that of our family are intimately linked to that of our ward and of the district to which it belongs, the Stella district.

The pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi is committed to the protection and promotion of the rich historical and artistic heritage of the district and to the memory of the great personalities who were born here and lived and worked in the area.

The Sanità district is strategically located, as it is situated at the foot of the hill of Capodimonte and to the north of the area of Decumanus, just a few steps from the historical center of the city. The story of the Sanità district is intimately linked, since its construction in the late sixteenth century, to the very special idea (hovering between sacred and profane) that the city of Naples has always had about religious faith and relationship between man and death. The name of the district itself, “Sanità (Health)” recalls the dramatic linkage between the city and the great plagues that ravaged it and reminds the story of a place that has always been to Naples a landmark of salubritas, or health, intended both as care of the body and its illness that as care of the soul through the solid faith of the Neapolitan people in prayer and miracles. As early as IV century BC, the area was indeed used by Greeks as a place of burial: the Greek presence is still today witnessed by the Hellenistic Funeral Hypogeum of Santa Maria Antesaecula street, that can be visited thanks to the work of the cultural association Celanapoli, of which Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi is a partner.

In the early Christian period was then built the basilica of San Gennaro Fuori le Mura, with its catacombs below, a beautiful and charming place to visit promoted and managed, along with the Catacombs of San Gaudioso and San Severo, by the cooperative La Paranza: a special devotion binds the people of the Sanità district, the Stella district and the whole city to the Catacombs of Saints Gennaro and Gaudioso, whose deads have been accredited, throughout the centuries, by numerous miraculous healings.

The pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi is an active supporter of the historical and artistic heritage of the Sanità district: consulting our blog you can keep informed about the conventions that our pizzeria has both with the cultural association Celanapoli ant and with the cooperative La Paranza, such as fixed lunches and dinners to enjoy before or after some guided tours.

In the fifteenth century, next to the Basilica of San Gennaro Fuori le Mura, was build a hospital for lepers that, after the Great Plague of 1656, was enlarged, becoming the current hospital of San Gennaro dei Poveri. To house the many people dead because of the Great Plague, was then created the famous Fontanelle cemetery, a place of faith and superstition: Neapolitans, from the seventeenth century up to the present, practice a unique worship, praying and lighting candles in favor of pezzentelle, the lost souls of nameless dead. Even today, the guided tour at the Fontanelle cemetery is one of the most fascinating cultural experiences that you can have in Naples.

Our district can tell, as few other areas of the city can, the constant and complex encounter between the wealthy higher social classes and the commons that features the city of Naples: prestigious buildings such as Sanfelice building of Arena della Sanità street, located just ahead of our pizzeria and home of the family of baroque architect Ferdinando Sanfelice, or the Spagnuolo building, located in Santa Maria Antesaecula street, in the Vergini district, famous for being the birthplace of the Prince of laughter Totò, evidences the fact that the area was initially intended to receive important noble families and wealthy burghers of the city. However, the very lively Vergini district, with its rich open-air market, reminds us of the popular appeal of the Sanità district. The origin of the name of the Vergini district reiterates the age-old Neapolitan story of the encounter/clash concerning social classes and the volcanic and complex nature of its people and goes back to the legendary story of Eunosto, a good-looking young commoner, who, without any intention, made himself loved by Ocna, the daughter of a magistrate. The girl wooed, not reciprocated, the young man, and finally tried to seduce him with assault, but she was violently rejected. Wounded in both pride and body, Ocna told her brothers of having been the victim of an attempted rape and the two retaliated by killing the guy. When, shortly after, truth was learned, the killers were jailed and the woman committed suicide, while the citizens wanted to honor Eunosto purity with the construction of a temple, in opposition to the aggressiveness of the power but also to the terrible nature of feminine passion, which is a metaphor for the nature of the city.

Among faith, superstition, legend, aristocratic heritage and popular culture, in our district a particular role was played by the many splendid churches: in addition to those already mentioned above, the pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi especially loves to remember the church of Immacolata and that of St. Vincenzo Ferreri, both “guests” of our historic votive shrine, together with the “holiest among Neapolitans and the most Neapolitans among Saints”, St. Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori, baptized in the church of St. Maria dei Vergini. We invite you to visit the Basilica of St. Maria della Sanità, in the center of the district, and Santa Maria Antesaecula church, in the alley of Hypogea Funeral Hellenistic, birthplace of Totò, where we dream to develop a museum: the pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi has promoted the collection of signatures for the nomination of the museum dedicated to Totò into the Spagnuolo building, considered as a “place of the heart” for the FAI Fondo Ambiente Italia (Italian Environment Fund).

“Our” Sanità district is today a difficult but deeply beautiful place, always on the balance between social disadvantage and the richness of history and heritage. In the twentieth century the cinema industry celebrated the overflowing Neapolitan habits, whose most distinguished characters were the great Totò and Sophia Loren, who in L’oro di Napoli (The gold of Naples), directed by Vittorio De Sica and shot in 1954, just three years after the birth of the pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi, played a beautiful commoner selling in her “Basso” (the typical Neapolitan little houses on ground floor) for a few pennies a delicious fried pizza she made herself. Meanwhile, in Arena della Sanità street, the great-grandmother Cettina was already preparing her famous montanare, the other high quality fried foods and the many delicious and light varieties of pizza, starting a tradition that today makes the pizzeria Oliva – Concettina ai Tre Santi the number one of the Sanità district, the pizzeria most loved by Neapolitan people.

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Pizzeria Oliva © 2013
Via Arena alla Sanità 7 Bis
80137 Napoli
PIVA 04760621211
effetto napoli
Studio 70
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