The Admiral's Bridge (Ponte dell'Ammiraglio) is a medieval bridge of Palermo. It was built over the Oreto River during the era of the Norman Sicily by the ammiratus ammiratorum George of Antioch. In 2015, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a series of nine civil and religious structures inscribed as Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.
According to a legend, the bridge is situated in the place where the Archangel Michael appeared to the Norman Count Roger I of Sicily helping him to conquer Palermo, at that time an Islamic bastion.It was completed in 1131, a year after the incoronation of Roger II as first King of Sicily. The construction was supervised by the admiral George of Antioch, the most powerful man of the Kingdom after Roger II. The bridge had the function to connect the capital to the royal gardens located across the Oreto River, like the Favara Park. Even now, the structure represents a symbol connecting the historic centre to the peripheral quarter of Brancaccio.
Since then, the bridge has been repeatedly damaged by the Oreto's overflowes. For this reason, as long ago as 1775, an attempt was made to divert the river. However, it was not until 1938 that the Oreto was definitely diverted and canalized. Seven years before, in February 1931, Palermo had been plagued by a terrible flood.
Thanks to its strategic position, on 27 May 1860, the bridge was the place of a famous battle between the Red Shirts of Giuseppe Garibaldi and the army of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies during the Expedition of the Thousand.
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.