There is nothing surprising in finding in Austria (at the monastery of St Florian) a staircase similar to the one (at the Palazzo Sanfelice) in Naples during the period when Naples was ruled by the Austrian Viceroys, but a puzzling problem of dating arises. From the existence of so many staircases of this type in Naples and only a single example in Austria, one would conclude that the type originated in the South and was borrowed by the northern architect on this occasion; but in fact the staircase at St Florian dates from 1709, earlier than the first certainly datable example in Naples. The argument is not, however, conclusive, because Sanfelice may have experimented with the form at an earlier date; but till further documents are discovered the question must — theoretically at least — be left open.
A. Blunt, Neapolitan Baroque and Rococo Architecture (London, 1975), pp. 142–43
Whereas Sanfelice’s first works in architecture, the decoration of the church of the Cappuccini di Pozzuoli and the construction of the church of the Periclitanti on the Salita di Pontecorvo, date from 1701–02, and his earliest dated stair of the doubled open sloping arcaded type, that added to the Seminario at Nardò for his brother the Bishop from 1723–24, it has recently been established that the first plans for the monastery at St Florian and its new staircase, along with plans for the monastery church, were submitted by Carlo Antonio Carlone during the winter of 1700–01. The staircase was itself begun (to a design different from that which was eventually followed by Prandtauer, Carlone’s successor, after 1707, but keeping the sloping arcade motif), between 1 January and 18 May 1701, dates recorded in the monastery building accounts for the delivery of granite steps. Thus the use of the doubled sloping arcade motif at St Florian (Pl. 41a) would seem to antedate Sanfelice’s activities as an architect in Naples, and certainly antedates his use of this motif in staircase design — Plate 41b shows the Palazzo Fernandes (probably) not actually by Sanfelice but a typical example. That is, however, a long way from saying that South-North influence can be replaced by North-South influence.