The Wenecja locality’s history is associated with the figure of Mikołaj Nałęcz of Chomiąża who in 14th century built a castle on the isthmus between the three lakes. As he saw his new residence similar to Venice in terms of its situation features, he named the site Wenecja (Polish for ‘Venice’). Wenecja was granted municipal rights in 1411 and maintained them into 16th century. Their loss was caused by changed political arrangements, as combined with a lessened importance of the castle in the strategic map of Poland after 2nd Peace Treaty of Toruń (Thorn) in 1466.
The castle was built by Mikołaj Nałęcz of Chomiąża around 1395, as a stone edifice intertwined with brick elements, founded on a square plan, side length 33 m. Its convenient situation between the three lakes has increased its value as a fortress. The castle was a notorious place for almost the entire period of its existence. In the initial years, this was so because of Mikołaj Nałęcz who, being a judge of Kalisz, had made a name for himself due to extremely cruel verdicts he was passing, which won him the nickname of the Wenecja Devil. Others believe that the sobriquet was coined in the course of a cruel civil war that rumbled through the area of Wielkopolska in 1382 to 1385. As Wenecja was taken over by the Gniezno bishopric, the castle was last upgraded in 1435, the works being led by Gregor of Ossek, brought along from Moravia. The castle was surrounded then with an additional pentagonal wall and a dirt wall; moreover, the stronghold was furnished with canons launching stone balls of diameters 3.4cm to 25cm. At that time, a gaol for priests sentenced by an ecclesial court was in operation there. As the 2nd Peace of Thorn was entered into in 1466, the castle ultimately lost its military significance and its slow decline is dated ever since.
Today, the castle is a picturesque ruin to which tourists visiting the nearby Narrow-Gauge Railway Museum and sightseeing other attractions on the Piast Route willingly pay visits.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.