The cultural education and artistic sensitivity, heritage of the family, was transferred by Emiddio and Alfonso Mele, in the new adventure that began with the purchase of the Palazzo della Borghesia which became the prestigious headquarters of the "Magazzini Italiani".

When the Magazzini Italiani E. & A. Mele & C. opened (taking as a model the Parisian emporiums La Fayette and Bon Marché, admired by the Mele brothers during their travels), they were welcomed with great enthusiasm, since they were the demonstration that an Italian path to elegance could exist.

The "Grandi Magazzini Mele" of Naples, in the years between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, expressed the liberty taste of the Belle Epoque and operated in the spirit of “greatest value for money”. In promoting fashion innovations, the latest arrivals of the season, ladies' and men's suits, children's dresses, accessories, fabrics and garments, the Neapolitan "House" offered not only a great variety and assortment "à bon marché” but above all it promised elegance and good taste

Fashion house


What did the Mele company represent in that period, which for many years linked its name to the events of Italian customs? Its history began in 1889 with the guidance of Emiddio and Alfonso Mele, and ended definitively in 1930 when Davide Mele, upon the death of the founders and due to the disastrous consequences of the crash of '29, closed the business.

On this date, what had been the first example of department stores in Italy ceased, the logo of the Mele company was "Magazzini Italiani". In 1890 the salon of Naples, "the Umberto I gallery", was inaugurated and the overlooking Palazzo della Borghesia was completed where in 1889 the large "Magazzini Italiani" of Emiddio and Alfonso Mele opened.

Some numerical data can give a dimension of the rapid and progressive economic expansion of Italian warehouses.

• In 1892 the company had 300 employees including office workers, workers and external workers, just the following year it increased to 500 direct employees.

• In 1893 the new sector dedicated to upholstery and interior furnishings opened. The cover of the catalog of the same year announces that "The Italian Department Stores, the largest in Naples, extend over two thousand square meters of surface area".

• In 1895 the “Mele” postal and telegraph office was opened in the Umberto I Gallery (right next to the Mele Department Store) to serve mail order sales.