St. Martin’s Chapel stands above an old mountain pass that may have even existed in the La Tène period (5th–1st centuries B.C.). If that was the case, the chapel represents a link between Celtic and early Christian culture in this region. Archaeological excavations in 1958 showed that, on the site of the present chapel, there was a religious building as early as the time around 800 A.D. perhaps a heathen spring shrine. The same investigations uncovered a basin that, if this was in fact a religious building, could have been a font.
From the exposed foundations, the appearance of this first building was able to be reconstructed. It consisted of a sacred space, 4.20 by 4.20 metres in area, and an attached baptismal room with two windows. According to the report of the 1958 restoration, this layout is similar to that of St. Wendelin’s Chapel (600 A.D.) in Cazis in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
In historical documents, the elevation of a forest chapel to the status of a church by the abbey of St. Margaret is recorded in 915, but it is not clear if that refers to this earliest building. It could also refer to a chapel, recorded in a papal bull of 1178 by Pope Alexander III, that was erected on a high mountain by the municipality of Furtwangen.
In the Middle Ages a new chapel was built using the old foundations and possibly parts of the outer walls. This probably dates to the Late Gothic period. After the chapel had been partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, a new roof and a new ceiling were built. The centre part of this has survived and bears the date 1672.
In the chapel there are other dates, some of which, thanks to the restoration work (Haas 1997) have been able to be correctly attributed: the retable dates to the year 1705, and the date of 1905 above the door lintel indicates the restoration measures of that time. The date of 1460 that was painted on the retable until the 1995-97 restoration was classified as incorrect.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, the chapel has been owned by the Kolmen farm. However, in 1848 it was converted into a utility building: extensions and alterations were made so that it had a stable, hayloft, shed, toilet and celler. Even the tower was replaced by a chimney.
The appearance of the present chapel dates back to an account that, in 1900, the Kolmenhof farmer made a vow that he would honour God and reinstate the former chapel as a place of worship if God would free him and his family from economic hardship. He appears to have been heard because, in 1905-06, the chapel was largely returned to its original state, a turret being replaced in its original position. In 1906 the chapel was rededicated.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.