The history of Olbía, Greek for “happiness”, of its harbour and the thousands of years of layers of culture. On the small Peddone island a short walk from the old port is the archaeological museum of Olbia, the Gallura region’s main city, home to an exhaustive collection of relics from the ancient civilisations that thrived in Sardinia. As an homage to its location on the sea and the role the port city played in the island’s history, the museum is shaped like a ship at anchor, with portholes and hanging walkways.
The exhibition is dedicated to the history of the port and city and focuses on the Phoenician, Greek, Punic, Roman, medieval, modern and contemporary eras. The museum has two levels. In the first hall on the ground floor are the ancient masts and rudders of real ships and the reconstruction of two laden cargo ships that were burned down during an attack by Vandals in about 450 CE. In the fourth room you will get a feeling, by way of a projection, of what the attack was like, with the sinking of eleven ships, an event that marked the end of the Roman era in Olbia. The second and third halls display other remains from the port, including a medieval shipwreck, the only one of its kind in Italy. A model of the harbour as it was in the 2nd century CE can be found in last hall.
The first hall on the second floor focuses on pre-Nuragic and Nuragic eras, Phoenician settlement (750 BCE) and Greek occupation (630-520 BCE), when Olbia was the only Greek port in the western Mediterranean Sea. Greek relics were, of course, unearthed during digs here. The second hall is dedicated to the Carthaginians, symbolized by the granite stele featuring the goddess Tanit, and then the Romans.
The third hall is home to terracottas, funerary items and amphorae dating to when the Punic civilization gave way to the Roman one, while the following room documents Olbia in full Rome era (from the mid-1st century BCE). You will see sculptures like the heads of the Emperor Domitian, the Empress Domitia and an extraordinary one of Hercules, the city’s most revered divinity. The fifth room deals with the relationship between Roman Olbia and the Mediterranean, as well as the traumatic advent of the Vandals. The items on display include clay lamps, coins, rings, necklaces and an Egyptian statue of the god Osiris.
The last hall on the upper floor is devoted to the Byzantine era, when the city was reduced to a mere town, and then subsequent periods: as the capital of Gallura, during the Spanish-Aragonese period (when it was called Terranova), the Piedmontese era, during Italy’s unification and afterwards.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.