The Royal Palace and The Royal Park
When King Charles of Bourbon came to Naples in 1734, he decided to commission a new residence on the hill of Capodimonte for his two great passions: hunting and his art collection. The Palace was constructed within a natural forest by the architect Giovanni Antonio Medrano to exhibit the Farnese Collection. The King brought the collection to Naples from his previous residences in Rome and Parma.
The Project of Ferdinando Sanfelice
The arrangment of the Park, with its surface area of over 330 acres, was entrusted to the architect and scenographer Ferdinando Sanfelice in 1742. He exploited the land, managing to create a fusion between audacious perspectives and stunning scenographic vistas. The main entrance to the Park, known as Porta di Mezzo, was articulated by a large elliptical area from which five long avenues fan out. These avenues are intersected by lateral pathways.
Church of San Gennaro
There are a number of historic buildings in the Royal Park. Many of them were originally intended to function as court residences, while others were used as places of workship, for factories, or for the rearing of animals and other agricultural purposes. Among them, the Church of San Gennaro was erected by Ferdinando Sanfelice at the behest of Charles of Bourbon in 1745. An old inscription on a marble slab above the entrance attests to the building's commission.
Church of San Gennaro
The Church was erected to serve the Royal Park's rather large population. Artworks were commissioned to adorn the interior of the church beginning in the 18th century, including a large canvas of San Gennaro, as well as four statues dedicated to the patron saints of the King's family: St. Charles, St. Amalia, St. Philip and St. Elizabeth.
The Lodge, before it was acquired by the Bourbon Family, was originally owned by the noble family of Carmignano. It was one of the most beautiful holiday villas on the Capodimonte hill. In 1826, during the reign of Francis I of Bourbon, it became the residence for his children - the Royal Princes.
Royal Porcelain Factory
, Architect Ferdinando Sanfelice transformed an already existing building into the Royal Porcelain Factory in 1743. The porcelain produced here was inspired by the Meissen Factory and became famous across the world. Now the Palace hosts the "Istituto ad indirizzo raro G. Caselli", a fine arts high school specializing in porcelain and ceramic crafts.
The Tower Garden is a complex area composed of a tower as well as gardens divided into several diverse zones of cultivation. The Garden was largely dedicated to the "Royal Fruitery", with espaliers of fruit trees along the walkways, as well as pineapples and a wide variety of citrus fruits.
Inside the Tower Garden resides a wood burning oven where in 1889, pizza with tomato and mozzarella was created taking the name "Pizza Margherita", dedicated to Queen Margareth of Savoy.
The Capraia (goat barn) is an18th century agricultural building. On the ground floor there were rooms for agricultural use, stables, and sheds. The upper floors provided rooms for shepherds and farmers. Today, the Capraia hosts the "Center for the History of Art and Architecture of Port Cities" - a partnership between the Capodimonte Museum and the Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History, University of Texas at Dallas.
Since the 18th century, this cellar has preserved wine barrels, wood, acorns and grain, preserved meats, millet, beans, and fava beans, as well as wild game from the Royal Park and products for sale. Today the Cellar is a space for staging exhibitions, events, and conferences.
Hermitage of the Capuchin Friars
The hermitage was built in 1817. It was commissioned by King Ferdinand of Bourbon upon his return to the throne of Naples in 1815, following Napoleon's defeat. He ordered the contruction in accordance with a tradition that required the King to make a vow to reconquer the Kingdom.
Curated by Francesca Santamaria
Photographs by Luciano Romano