The Alberg de Poveri (hotel of the poor) in Naples is one of the supreme expressions of enlightened despotism in Europe, and influenced the provision of accommodation for the poor in many countries. The building is probably the largest in Naples, and only part of what was envisaged was actually built. It was planned by King Charles III (1716-88) to accommodate 8000 poor people drawn from all over the kingdom of Naples, but was particularly intended to shelter the street people of the city of Naples itself.
It was designed by the distinguished architect Ferdinand Fuga (1699-1781), who intended to create a complex 600 m long and 135 m wide built around five courtyards. Building continued long after the deaths of the patron and the architect, and finally ceased in 1819 when three of the five courtyards had been completed. The present grey stuccoed frontage is 354 m long, and ornamented with pilasters. The building is notable for its monumental staircase. The king intended to provide educational facilities as well as accommodation for the poor, and amongst the institution’s most notable features was its school of music where many accomplished instrumentalists received their training.A part of the building was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1980.
The building is currently being renovated as La Citta dei Giovani nel Real Albergo dei Poveri (the City of Youth in the Royal Hotel of the Poor).