Giulio Cesare Capaccio

(Campagna, 1550 - Rome 1634)

It was born in the nascent inhabited center of Casalnuovo, near the Church of the Trinity in Campagna, in 1550 by Paolo Antonio and Francesca de Manna. Initiated at a young age to study by his father, he studied law in the General Studio of San Bartolomeo and, like every member belonging to wealthy families, he had illustrious tutors such as Marco Fileta Filiuli , but the young Capaccio immediately privileged himself to devote himself to classical literature studies which brought him even to Bologna to complete and specialize the field of reference.
During his cultural journey he was lucky enough to move to many Italian cities and met many of the most influential men of the time, also forging relations with Cardinal Montalto, the future Pope Sixtus V. 1> .
Julius Caesar during this period was immediately appreciated for his qualities and his human gifts, characteristics that have distinguished him throughout his life.
He returned to Naples in 1581 for a short period, where he began to publish his first works, including " Sermons Quadra Generali ", divided into two volumes: the first having seven sermons and published the same year, the second published a few years later. Having a large family and not being able to afford the comfortable Neapolitan life, he decided to return to Campagna where the family properties welcomed him with greater stability.
Here he came across a rather singular episode: one day while consuming his usual walks, he found himself in a discussion with a Capuchin monk and talked with him for various times. Only later did he understand that it was his brother, as he testified in a letter sent to Don Camillo Carnevale 2 , a letter contained in the Secretariat .
In Campagna at that time there was the Accademia dei Solitari or " Minerva Templum " (as Capaccio loved to call it) and was an important member of it as well as the others that arose: "Dei Taciturni" and "Del Clero" . During his stay in our city he was vigilant and careful in preserving his places of worship, as well as when in 1590 he appealed to Michele Guerriero, heir of the great Melchiorre Guerriero , so that he would intercede not to have the monastery of Santa Maria La Nova demolished, going against the will of the friars of the time who wanted to build a new one. He succeeded.
There have been various voices, partly still present in the community of scholars today, who would like Giulio Cesare Capaccio intolerant to local city life in those years, but we find denial of such inaccuracies in the " Treaty of Companies " published between 1590 and 1591 where he wrote words of praise and love for our city. We believe and we are convinced that even if there was some intolerance, it was due solely and exclusively to the rhythms of life that our illustrious fellow citizen had, given the amount of travels and displacements of which he was the protagonist; the same trips that led him to return to Naples in 1592 to fulfill his aspirations once and for all.
But the relationship with the city never stopped. In fact, when he returned to Campagna, he taught in the General Studio 3 and worked on printing works at the present printing house, the only one in the Principality of Citra. It was, however, in Naples where Capaccio gave his best. The turning point was the death of King Philip II of Spain, when he wrote a very touching funeral oration in his honor, recalling the deeds and life of the Habsburg ruler, so much so that his deputy king, Don Ferrante Castro, son of the deceased , appointed him Secretary of the City of Naples once he succeeded to the throne.
This watershed gave a turning point in his life and meant that Capaccio was able to publish several important works for the City of Naples, such as when in 1604 he published "The Panegyric of the eight Patron Saints of Naples".
His most important work, however, arrives only in 1607, when he published his " Neapolitan Historia " the history of the City of Naples, a work that is still considered the most important published on Naples in the Baroque era, making Julius Caesar one of the most important historians of the city for that time.
He also specialized as an antiquarian, working (and he deserves credit) for the beginnings of the excavations of the “ Magna Grecia di Pesto 4 , now Paestum. Figure among the founders of the "Accademia degli Oziosi" inaugurated in Naples on May 3, 1611 under the protection of St. Thomas Aquinas, this nomenclature was chosen because the members were exempt from daily commitments that did not concern scientific and literary subjects.
Having become wealthy also in the Neapolitan city, he reached positions and depths that did not make him lack, in spite of himself, problems related to political intrigues, in fact, in 1613 he was unjustly accused of extortion and appropriation of public money 5 , an unpleasant story that saw him forced to leave Naples and go into hiding from the Neapolitan courts, all with strong repercussions, such as the decay of the title of Secretary of the City due to the long absence.
Dopo un esilio durato otto lunghi anni, scagionato nel 1621, tornò a Napoli e grazie al cambio della situazione socio-politica partenopea potette finalmente riabbracciare i propri cari e versare lacrime sulla tomba della moglie, morta nel frattempo.
Risolti i problemi di natura legale, il Capaccio si rimise a pubblicare opere, lasciando testimonianze importanti come quella che racconta la lunga eruzione del Vesuvio del 1632, durata un anno, o come la sua ultima opera del 1634 “Il Forastiero”, una sorta di odierna guida turistica riservata ai viandanti e visitatori con illustrazioni minuziose di piazze, strade, vicoli e palazzi della città. La particolarità di questo volume stava nell'idea di Giulio Cesare di instaurare una conversazione immaginaria tra un nativo del posto e un forestiero con la spiegazione che portava un viaggio tra le bellezza di Napoli.
Il Capaccio lasciò questa vita l'8 luglio 1634 a Napoli dove tutt'ora è sepolto. Campagna lo ricorda con una piazza intitolata a suo nome nel quartiere di Zappino dove nel 1882, l'allora sindaco Alfonso Cubicciotti volle dedicarla al nostro grande concittadino.
Testo a cura di Cristian Viglione.
Revisioni: Francesco Pezzuti.

1. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le persone illustri. - VOL. P - 2005
2. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le persone illustri. - VOL. P - 2005
3. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le persone illustri. - VOL. P - 2005
4. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le persone illustri. - VOL. P - 2005
5. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le persone illustri. - VOL. P - 2005

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