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The Royal Palace of Naples was one of four residences enjoyed by the House of Bourdon during the period of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, the other three being the Reggia di Capodimonte, the Reggia di Caserta and the Reggia di Portici. The Royal Palace majestically faces the Piazza del Plebiscito and is surrounded by other important buildings like the Palazzo Salerno, the Church of San Francesco di Paola and the Prefettura Palace.
It has also been the residence of many kingdoms over the years, from the Spanish, to the Austrian Viceroys and finally, the House of Bourbon. After the Italian Unification, it became the neapolitan residence of the House of Savoy.
The Castel dell’Ovo is one of the most prominent old symbol of the city. This castle rises up on an islet called Megaride and is directly linked to the mainland by a isthmus. Its name derives from an old legend: according to this, Virgilius hid an egg in a cage placed in the castle basement; this secrecy was necessary because every event in the city would have derived from it. During Queen Joanna I’s Kingdom, the castle suffered some damages because of a partial collapse of the natural arch on which it is built. The Queen had to swear that she personally replaced the egg in order not to scare the population for fear of disasters.
Over its storied history, the Certosa di San Martino has enriched itself with prestigious historic, artistic, architectural and cultural heritage. Originally a Carthusian Monastery, the founding of the Neapolitan Republic changed its destiny in 1799 when the monks were accused of being republican sympathizers. They were suppressed and sent away, and the monastery was shut down. In 1866, it became a National Monument and its first Managing Director, Giuseppe Fiorelli, decided to convert it into the Kingdom of Naples “Historical Museum”. From then on, with the help of a lot of private donations, and public ones at a later stage, the museum was able to obtain beautiful art treasures showcasing the powerful artistic heritage of Naples. Since its founding in the 16th century, the Certosa di San Martino with its many treasures and its fascinating location, has been and continues to be a favourite destination for many intellectuals and travellers alike.
First reports about the Castel Sant’Elmo come from 1275. In 1329 Robert of Anjou entrusted Tino di Camaino (Sienese sculptor and Architect) with the expansion of the building into a huge quadrilateral palatium composed of two towers expressly requested for the King and his entourage; in 1348 it is described as “castrum Sancti Erasmi” because of a chapel consacrated to St. Erasmus.
During the Spanish Kingdom (1504-1707) the castle, called Sant’Ermo and then Sant’Elmo, was transformed into a defensive fortification. Its star-shaped construction started in 1537; a year later, an epigraph was placed on the main gate with King Carlo V’s eagle of Hapsburg emblem standing on top of it.
In 1547 Pietro Prato built the church, which was destroyed by a thunder in 1587, the military lodgings and the castellan’s apartment block.
Between 1599 and 1610 the castle was restored by Domenico Fontana. From 1860 t o 1952 it was designated as a military prison. At a later stage, the fortress belonged to the military property. In 1982 the management of the entire building was entrusted to the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Naples which started up a restoration work useful to gain new modern exbition spaces.
The Museo Madre is located in the Palazzo Donnaregina, right in the old town centre. The museum was inaugurated on June 11th 2005, but its finalization occured in 2007 with the expansion of the exhibition spaces by the Portuguese Architect Alvaro Siza. The permanent collection boasts the artworks of internationally well-known artists such as Andy Warhol, Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Robert Mapplethorpe, Francesco Clemente, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Richard Serra, Jeff Koons, Richard Long, Rebecca Horn, Alfredo Pirucha, Domenico Paladino, Piero Manzoni.