National Museum of Capodimonte
The origin of the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte is linked to King Charles of Bourbon, who in 1738 commissioned its construction, entrusting the design to Giovanni Antonio Medrano. The magnificent wood of more than 120 hectares that surrounds it, a royal hunting reserve since 1734, was landscaped by Ferdinando Sanfelice, who introduced great avenues that radiated out from the palace.
This court residence of Charles and his descendants was also the favourite home of Gioacchino Murat, and after 1860 gave hospitality on more than one occasion to princes of the House of Savoy. Today the palace is home to one of the largest and most important museums in Italy, after the long- established Pinacoteca Nazionale was transferred in 1949 from the Museo Nazionale (now known as the Museo Archeologico), and its artworks were thus added to the collections already present at Capodimonte.
The main nucleus of the museum is the Farnese collection, with outstanding masterpieces by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Titian, Parmigianino, Carracci, El Greco and other great painters, which Charles of Bourbon inherited from his mother Elisabetta Farnese and transferred to Naples in 1734.
From then on, the history of the art collection that visitors can now admire at Capodimonte was one of successive donations, bequests and acquisitions. The demise of Neapolitan and southern Italian churches led to the bequeathing of precious works of art by artists such as Simone Martini, Colantonio, and Caravaggio. In some cases, entire collections were inherited (Borgia, d’Avalos); there are also numerous paintings of the Neapolitan school, which in the course of time joined the royal collections.
On the mezzanine level, visitors to the museum will be able to admire the Cabinet of drawings and prints; on the first floor, the Farnese gallery, the Borgia collection, the Royal Apartment, the porcelains gallery, and the famous Chinoiserie Room. The latter, built by Charles of Bourbon for Maria Amalia, is a typical example of European chinoiserie, and was designed for the Reggia di Portici, where it remained until 1866, when it was transferred to Capodimonte. The armoury is also of great interest, with firearms of various manufacture, made between the sixteenth and eighteenth century.
Guns, helmets, and armour belonging to members of noble and royal families are on display. On the second floor, the tour continues with the Gallery of Arts in Naples from the Thirteenth to the Eighteenth Century, the d’Avalos collection and the Tapestry Room. On the third floor, the section dedicated to the nineteenth century includes various works by neoclassical painters, paintings by the school of Posillipo, from Pitloo to Hackert, and examples of the Neapolitan late nineteenth century. The exhibition dedicated to contemporary art (second and third floor) includes masterpieces by artists of international repute, such as Andy Warhol, Mimmo Jodice, Alberto Burri, Mario Merz, Joseph Kosuth, Enzo Cucchi, and Michelangelo Pistoletto. This site is included in the circuit Campania Artecard.