The history of La Controra is closely linked to that of the nearby Church of Santa Maria del Rimedio (not used as a church nowadays). You can read about the complex in the book “Stories of the beautiful, ancient and mysterious city of Naples” (1792) by Carlo Celano, which refers to the Church of Santa Maria del Rimedio «.. as served by the Fathers of the Holy Trinity of Saint Mary of Mercede. The Church was built in the first years of the last century».
A century before Celano, Giovanni Battista Chiarini writes: «Next to the church there is a wonderful hunting lodge built by the Cardinal Belmosto, which was sold to the Fathers of the Holy Trinity of Saint Mary of Mercede, who turned the lodge into a convent. Here the air is perfect, and many people use it to cure their ills». Therefore, La Controra is part of the convent built at the beginning of the 18th century, in the zone of Trinità alla Cesarea. In the 17th century, the area had numerous aristocratic hunting lodges, later sold to religious orders due to increasing demand for convents and monasteries. These new orders were favoured by the Spanish colonial Government and the Church. Today, the roots of this area’s architecture can be directly traced from this period, when so many convents, cloisters, and churches were built. At the beginning of the 18th century, this Belmosto property was overhauled and rebuilt into its current structure.
The order of the Fathers of the Holy Trinity of Saint Mary of Mercede, founded in 1198, imposes a strict monastic code of behaviour on its acolytes. This includes, among other things, offering hospitality to travellers, the poor and the sick. The monastery’s guests were well looked after in a familiar and unthreatening environment. In its current metamorphosis as a hostel, it follows the same basic principles as the monastic order of old, but we are hardly a convent. In 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte suppressed the monastic orders: this was a turning point in the building’s history, because it was no longer used as a sanctuary. The complex became a group of private homes. And it was not until May 2006 that this historic complex became once again a place for world weary travellers to rest their feet amidst the chaos of Naples.