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Royal Palace of Naples

Coordinates: 40°50′10″N 14°14′59″E / 40.8362°N 14.2496°E / 40.8362; 14.2496
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Royal Palace of Naples
Royal Palace façade
General information
Architectural styleItalian Baroque, Neo-Classical
LocationNaples, Italy
AddressPiazza del Plebiscito 1
Coordinates40°50′10″N 14°14′59″E / 40.8362°N 14.2496°E / 40.8362; 14.2496
Invalid designation
Official namePalazzo Reale di Napoli
The façade on Piazza del Plebiscito, seen from the south
Main stairs
The throne room

The Royal Palace of Naples (Italian: Palazzo Reale di Napoli; Neapolitan: Palazzo Riale 'e Napule) is a palace, museum, and historical tourist destination located in central Naples, southern Italy.

It was one of the four residences near Naples used by the House of Bourbon during their rule of the Kingdom of Naples (1735–1816) and later the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816-1861). The others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples and Portici on the slopes of Vesuvius.

For the last century the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, the third largest Italian National Library, has occupied a large part of the building. There are also large royal apartments, kept fitted with period furniture, paintings and other elements, that are open for visiting by tourists.


The palace is on the site of an earlier residence, which had housed the former Viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo, Marquis of Villafranca. Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana.[1] Intended to house King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of the Assumption (Cappella Reale dell'Assunta) was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain in Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. Giovanni Antonio Medrano was employed in 1734, without knowing the scope of his work, on the Royal Palace of Naples. In the short span of time between 1734 and 1738, Medrano supervised the renovation and expansion works of the viceregal palace (1734).[2] On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. It was Charles who build the other three palaces in locations more peripheral to the city center. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a "new wing" was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to the Palace of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceregal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided (by the Decree of the Minister Antonino Anile) to transfer here the contents of the National Library (until then in the palace of National Archaeological Museum of Naples). The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.

Statues of kings of Naples[edit]

In 1888, King Umberto I of Italy made changes to the western façade side of the building (fronting on Piazza del Plebiscito), by displaying in niches a series of statues of prominent rulers of Naples since the foundation of the Kingdom of Naples in the 12th century. The statues are displayed in chronological order, based on the dynasty of each ruler. The series starts with Roger the Norman (sculpted by Emilio Franceschi), and ends with Vittorio Emanuele II, the tallest statue and the last to be added (sculpted by Francesco Jerace).

The other figures represent:

None of the statues refers to the Bourbon dynasty, not even Charles of Bourbon, who is actually engraved with the name of Charles III.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The "signature" of Domenico Fontana is engraved on some bases of the columns of the facade of the Royal Palace of Naples. The text states: "DOMENICVS FONTANA PATRITIVS Romanvs / AVRATAE Militiae EQVES / ET COMES PALATINVS INVENTOR."
  2. ^ "MEDRANO, Giovanni Antonio - Treccani". Treccani (in Italian). Retrieved 2024-01-01.

External links[edit]