Museo di Capodimonte

The Palace and Museum of Capodimonte is a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples, Italy, formerly the summer residence of the kings of the Two Sicilies. It houses the main museum and art gallery of the city.

It was built at the command of Charles VII, king of Naples and Sicily (later Charles III, king of Spain) and started in 1738 after a design by Giovanni Antonio Medrano, who was also the architect of Naples' beautiful opera house, the Teatro San Carlo. King Charles built it expressly to house the fabulous Farnese art collection which he had inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese, last descendant of the sovereign ducal family of Parma.

It is the prime repository of Neapolitan and general Italian cultural heritage in the city. The first and second floors house the Galleria Nazionale (National Gallery), with paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries including major works by Simone Martini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco and many others. The museum is by far the best place to see paintings of the Neapolitan School, often under-appreciated by the wider world, with large holdings of Jusepe de Ribera, Luca Giordano, the Neapolitan Caravaggisti and many others (see list of works in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte). Much of the ground floor is taken up by the magnificent Farnese collection of classical, mostly Roman, monumental sculpture, which survives here largely intact.

Elsewhere in the palace the royal apartments are furnished with antique 18th century furniture and a collection of porcelain and majolica from the various royal residences. The famous Capodimonte Porcelain Factory was just adjacent to the palace; it was started in 1743 by the Bourbon King Charles. The palace is situated in the Bosco di Capodimonte ('Hilltop Wood'), which served as a royal hunting preserve. There is still a pleasant park around the palace.

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