The Royal Palace of Naples was built as the king of Spain Philip III was supposed to be coming to visit Naples and it was felt that the other royal residences were not suitable for a king to stay in. The Royal Palace was designed by Domenico Fontana at the beginning of the XVII century as the viceroy Ferrante di Castro wanted to be built. But in the XVIII century it was restored by Luigi Vanvitelli. Some of the arches of the façade were filled with niches as the architect Vanvitelli thought that the palace was in danger of collapsing as it wasn’t stable. Later Gioacchino Murat and Carolina Bonaparte decorated the royal palace with neoclassical furniture and porcelain (China ware). In 1837 a fire broke out and damaged the building. That is the reason why it was restored by Gaetano Genovese. It was damaged also during the last war and then it was renewed once again. In 1888 the king of Italy, Umberto I placed in the arches of the façade 8 statues representing the most important kings of the various dynasties who ruled Naples over the centuries: Roger the Norman, Frederick II of Swabia, Charles I of Anjou, Alfonso I of Aragon, Charles V of Spain, Charles of Bourbon, Joachim Murat, Victor Emanuel II.
Nowadays its first floor has been transformed into a museum and it houses the National Library.
As regards the museum, it is difficult to describe each room, but noteworthy in particular are the Theatre, The throne Room and the Great Capitan’s Room..
It was the Old Ball Room turned into the Royal Theatre by Ferdinando Fuga in 1768. Half destroyed by a bomb during the last war, it was restored in the middle of this century. It was transformed into the Royal Thetre when the king Ferdinand IV of Bourbon married Maria Carolina of Austria. It is decorated in rococò style and the paper-pulp statues surrounding the hall represent the Muses, Minerva, Apollon and Mercury. In 1994 the G7 members met in that room.
The Throne Room:
The Throne room is in Empire style and dates back to the year 1850. In the vault there are 14 female figures symbolizing the various districts of the Bourbon Kingdom. In front of the throne there is portait of Ferdinand I of Bourbon who is pointing out the church of San Francesco di Paola, which is in front of the Royal Building. On the right and on the left of the throne two paintings represent the ambassadors of Tripoli and of Turkey. In the same room another painting showes Victor Emanuel III, king of Naples, when he was a boy: he was born in that building in 1869. The chandelier is made of crystal from Bohemia.
The Great Capitan’s Room:
This room is dedicated to Don Salvo de Cordoba, the Spanish capitain who conquered the Kingdom of Naples in 1503. Since then Naples was no longer the capital of the kingdom but just the capital of one of the Spanish dominions. The vault was painted by Battistello Caracciolo and it represents the great capitain. In the same room a precious portait of Pier Luigi Farnese by Tiziano Vecellio is kept.