San Vincenzo Molo and Lighthouse
Just over an hour after leaving Ischia Porto, our ferry entered the water area of the sea port of Naples. The port is protected from the waves and winds of the Bay of Naples by a high pier extending 1,800 meters out to sea. The lighthouse on the island of San Vincenzo, located one and a half kilometers from the coast, was first mentioned in documents in 1268. In 1487, the Aragonese ruler Ferdinand I commissioned the architect Luca Bengiamo to build a stone tower on the island, which was named Torre San Vincenzo. However, 8 years later, the lighthouse was destroyed by the artillery of the French squadron. The lighthouse tower was rebuilt again under King Federico I in 1501 and served for more than a century until it was destroyed by fire in 1624. In 1626, the tower was rebuilt under the direction of the architect Pietro De Marino. The lighthouse once again changed its appearance in 1916, in this form we see it now. The light source is located at an altitude of 25 meters above sea level, its light is visible for 22 nautical miles (41 kilometers).
Ships arriving at the port are greeted by Saint Januarius, the patron saint of Naples. The statue was made in the middle of the 17th century and originally stood in the port. In 1826, the monument was moved to the pier of San Vincenzo. During the mass emigration of Italians to North America, Saint Januarius gave hope to people leaving their native land in search of a better life.
In 1557, the architect Domenico Fontana presented a project to modernize the port, which provided for the connection of the island of San Vincenzo with the mainland. The bridge was built in 1596, but a year later it was washed away by a strong storm. The port reached its greatest prosperity during the reign of the Bourbons. In 1836, Ferdinand II issued a decree establishing a military port protected from the sea by a large pier, continuing the work of Domenico Fontano. Construction under the direction of Colonel Domenico Cuccinello and architect Stefano Gasse lasted from 1841 to 1847. Stone for construction was extracted from quarries on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. In 1843, a lighthouse with a tower height of 43 meters was built on the pier, but in 1933 it was demolished during the expansion of the port. In August 1852, the first dry dock in Italy, built of brick, was opened at the pier of San Vincenzo. The pier originally served not only as a protection from waves, but was also a defensive structure. In the middle part of the pier, from the port side, you can see arched casemates where artillery pieces were located, directed towards the bay. Later, the casemates were used to store Naval ammunition.
In 1998, the city authorities made an attempt to turn the pier into a promenade and cruise berths, and 20 billion liras were spent on reconstruction. However, there is still no way to walk along the pier-the part of the pier adjacent to the shore belongs to the Italian Navy, which is in no hurry to open access through its territory.
The far part of the pier is used as a winter parking lot for civilian vessels.
There is also a helipad, also owned by the Navy.