Heraclea Minoa was an ancient Greek city situated near the mouth of the river Halycus (modern Platani). Excavations have revealed several parts of the city which are now open to the public.
Archaeological finds from the necropolis show the city was founded in the mid-6th century BC. The first written mention of the city is of a small town and a colony of the Greek settlement of Selinus. The city was only briefly under the control of the Spartans and during the whole of the 5th century BC it was under Akragan control and became very prosperous.
However it was destroyed by the Carthaginians probably in 406 BC. The territory fell under Carthaginian control as a result of the treaty of 405 BC. but the absence of all mention of Heraclea suggests that either it did not then exist or must have been in a very reduced condition. It was won back in 397 BC by Dionysius, but recovered by Carthage in 383 BC.
Little of it is recorded under Roman dominion, but Heraclea Minoa appears to have suffered severely in the First Servile War (134–132 BC) and in consequence received a body of fresh colonists, who were established there by the praetor Publius Rupilius. At the same time the relations of the old and new citizens were regulated by a municipal law, which still subsisted in the time of Cicero, when Heraclea was still flourishing. Soon afterwards it must have fallen into decay, in common with most of the towns on the southern coast of Sicily. Archaeology shows that towards the end of the first century BC the city was abandoned.
In the early 20th century, a mid-6th-early 5th century BC necropolis was discovered. A large-scale excavation by Professor Ernesto de Miro from 1950 uncovered late 4th–late 1st century BC dwellings and the late 4th century BC theatre. The absence of Arretine ware at the site strongly suggests that the city was abandoned by the beginning of the 1st century AD. Many cemeteries and tombs have been excavated in the nearby countryside and many of their grave goods are on display in the on-site museum.References:
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.