Grafendahn Castle belongs to the group of castles at Dahn, which also includes Altdahn and Tanstein. Although the three castles are sited next to one another on a rocky ridge, they were not built at the same time.
Grafendahn was built in 1287 by Conrad of Mursel, who was a Lehnsmann or vassal of the bishops of Speyer and a nephew of Frederick of Dahn. The castle was conceived from the outset as a so-called Ganerbenburg - a castle in which several families or family lines lived and worked at the same time. As early as 1288, there were five other heirs, besides Conrad Mursel, who included the counts of Sponheim. In 1339, Count John II of Sponheim purchased all parts of the site from the various parties concerned and thus became the sole owner.
In 1425, the castle defences were strengthened and, in 1437, when the House of Sponheim became extinct on the death of John V, it was transferred by inheritance treaty into the possession of the margraves of Baden. However its defences were not robust enough to withstand a siege by Prince Elector Frederick the Victorious; in 1462 he took the castle and had it slighted. It was clearly not rebuilt in a systematic way. In 1480 Hans von Trotha, who was already the liegeman of Berwartstein Castle, was also given Grafendahn as a fief by the prince elector, and took full ownership in 1485 through purchase. Nevertheless, around 1500, the castle was described as 'uninhabitable'.
Until 1637 the ruined castle belonged to the lords of Fleckenstein. In 1642 it changed hands again and was acquired by the tavern at Waldenburg, where it remained for about 150 years. In 1793 the site went back to the Bishopric of Speyer as Lehnsherr (liege lord), who did not enfeoff it again.
Grafendahn Castle is the smallest of the three Dahn castles and is located on the middle of the five castle rock outcrops. The development of the upper ward is rather unclear today due to its modern parapet walls. In the west of the upper ward are the striking ruins of a shield wall, that was erected facing Tanstein Castle. Parts of it have survived at its original height. It was built of rusticated ashlars. Against the shield wall there was a small palas as well as several domestic buildings.
In the lower ward, which is situated on two narrow rock terraces, several chambers, cattle troughs and a well shaft have survived. The castle museum has been house in a restored stable blockReferences:
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.