Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo
Built in 1279 at the behest of Charles I of Anjou, from the outset the castle was known as the “Castrum novum” (New Castle), to distinguish it from the city’s two ancient fortresses (Castel dell’Ovo and Castel Capuano). During the reign of Robert of Anjou, the castle became a cultural centre where artists, physicians and literati came to stay, including figures such as Giotto, Petrarch and Boccaccio. The House of Anjou was succeeded by the Aragonese under Alphonsus I, who, electing to do as his predecessors had done, chose Castel Nuovo as his royal residence, initiating reconstruction works and ordering the erection outside, between the Torre di Mezzo and the Torre di Guardia, of the majestic Triumphal Arch, to celebrate his victorious entry into the city of Naples. Under the Aragonese, the medieval castle/palace was transformed into a modern-age fortress, in keeping with the new demands of warfare; the area around the castle lost the residential character that it had under the Angevins. The castle has a trapezoidal plan, consisting of a tuff curtain with five cylindrical towers resting on a podium around which the sentry paths run. The courtyard area, which faithfully follows its Angevin predecessor, consists of Catalan elements such as the arcade with camber arches and the outside staircase made of piperno stone, designed by the Majorcan architect Guillem Sagrera, which leads to the Sala dei Baroni and gives this corner of the court the characteristic aspect of a Spanish patio. During the Viceregal period (1503-1734), the defensive structures of the castle, which was used purely for military purposes, were further modified. With the accession of Charles III of Bourbon, the castle was surrounded in successive stages by buildings of all kinds, including warehouses and residential accommodation. The castle is currently used for cultural purposes and is, among other things, home to the Museo Civico. The museum spaces consist of the Sala dell’Armeria, the fourteenth- century Cappella Palatina or Chapel of Santa Barbara, the first and second floors of the south curtain, as well as the Sala Carlo V and the Sala della Loggia, which are used to host exhibitions and cultural events. The Museo Civico contains frescoes, paintings and sculptures dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth century.
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