The history of the Banco di Napoli

The history of the Banco di Napoli

The Banco di Napoli traces its ancient roots back to the 15th century, with the earliest public banks associated with religious institutions in Naples. Although its birth is commonly attributed to the Monte della Pietà in 1539, recent documents suggest its origin may date back even further to the deposit box of the Casa Santa dell’Annunziata in 1463.

Initially part of charitable works, these institutions, such as the Casa Santa dell’Annunziata, evolved into true public banks in the 16th century. Over the centuries, the Banco di Napoli played a crucial role in the economic life of Southern Italy and beyond. Significant events, like the Masaniello uprising in 1647 and the ascent of Carlo di Borbone in 1734, contributed to renewed economic development with projects such as the Reggia di Caserta and the Teatro San Carlo. However, the French Revolution and subsequent wars led to an economic crisis, depleting the reserves of public banks. In 1806, with the rise of Giuseppe Bonaparte in Naples, the Banco delle Due Sicilie was founded by Gioacchino Murat.

Following Italian unification in 1861, the Banco delle Due Sicilie became the Banco di Napoli, contributing to the country’s economic development through issuing banknotes and expanding branches nationwide. Despite challenges like the late 19th-century economic crisis and restrictions imposed by the League of Nations after World War I, the Banco di Napoli maintained its relevance, even opening branches abroad. However, throughout the 20th century, the bank faced various crises, culminating in its incorporation into the Sanpaolo IMI group in 2002, following the split between Banco di Napoli S.p.A. and the Foundation.

The history of the Banco di Napoli reflects not only the economic developments of Southern Italy but also the political and social transformations of the country over the centuries, leaving a lasting imprint on Italian banking history.

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