This palace was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 2 years, from 1600 to 1602, for the Spanish king Filippo III. Ironically, he never made it to Naples, and the castle was used by later kings who enlarged it in the XVIII century. Luigi Vanvitelli worked on the facade, closing some of the arches to strengthen the walls and creating niches that were filled in 1888 by Umberto I, king of Italy, with eight statues of Neapolitan kings. Badly damaged by U.S. bombing during World War II, the building has since been completely restored. The Royal Apartment occupies one half of the palace, and is still furnished with the original furniture plus a number of masterpieces taken from Neapolitan churches that have closed. From the elegant Court of Honor the double ramp of the main staircase leads to the first floor and the Teatrino di Corte, the private “home theater” of the royal family. Continuing through, you enter the semipublic rooms, including the Throne Room. Beyond the corner begins the Private Appartment, where the kings lived until 1837, when a fire obliged them to move upstairs. Its rooms open onto the manicured elevated gardens, with beautiful views over the Gulf. With colored marble, tapestries, frescoes, and XIX century furniture, the rooms are quite splendid, especially the beautifully furnished King’s Study, where you can admire a desk and two secretaires made for Napoleon Bonaparte by Adam Weisweiler. The magnificent Hall of Hercules, the ballroom, is hung with Neapolitan tapestries and decorated with some beautiful Sèvres vases. The chapel, Cappella Palatina, is worth a visit for its carved wooden doors dating from the XVI century; its beautiful baroque marble altar by Dionisio Lazzari, with inlays of lapis lazuli, agate, amethyst, and gilt; and the splendid XVIII century Presepio del Banco di Napoli (Nativity Scene of the Bank of Naples).
The other half of the palace contains the reception wing: the Appartamento delle Feste, with elegant rooms dedicated to public celebrations and festivities. It is now, together with the second floor, occupied by the Biblioteca Nazionale di Vittorio Emanuele III, the library that was originally established by Charles de Bourbon. The library is one of the best in the Italy, with about two million volumes (including 32,950 manuscripts, 4,563 incunabula, and 1,752 papyrus manuscripts from Herculaneum).
Every day from 9.00 am to 20.00 (last admission 19.00)
Saturday and Sunday 10.30 am to 19.30 (18.30)
Closed 1th January,1th May, 19th September and 25th December
Closed on Wednesday
TEL: +39 3284134719