Between the 1570s and 1620s Naples became an internationally leading center of learning with a vibrant intellectual milieu. Academies played a vital role in enhancing the scholarly debate on arts and science, often functioning as spaces within which both patronage and courtly life lavishly expressed their pervasive power. Academic gatherings took place in carefully chosen venues such as monasteries, palaces and churches, all of which also functioned as a public display for social status and political power. Academic debates embraced a variety of disciplines which included literature, language, philosophy, and scientific research in the fields of medicine, physiognomy, anatomy, alchemy and the like. Within this intellectually active milieu, courtly entertainment also played a crucial role and took place in a variety of privately and publicly acted performances which included staged plays, scientific experimentation and public celebrations. By looking at some primary sources, this paper will attempt to answer the following questions:What was the role of academies, academicians and patrons in shaping the image of early modern Naples? What roles academicians were expected to carry out? Where were the boundaries between freedom of expression and propaganda?