Arco Castle ruins are located on a prominent spur high above Arco and the Sarca Valley. The exact date of its foundation is unknown but it existed at least after the year 1000 AD. The area around Arco was inhabited already before the Middle Ages, the castle was said to have been built by the citizens and only later becoming the property of the local nobles.
The counts of Arco, probably of Italian origin, were first mentioned in 1124 deed; they temporarily served as liensmen of the Trent prince-bishops. Though they were raised to comital (Grafen) status by the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II in 1221, they had to acknowledge the overlordship of the Meinhardiner princely counts of Tyrol in 1272.
The Counts of Arco were expelled by the Prince-Bishops of Trent in 1349, whereafter the castle fell to the Veronese noble house of Scaliger. Nevertheless, they regained the castle in a local uprising, and in 1413 further strengthened their position by obtaining the status of Imperial immediacy from the hands of Emperor Sigismund in 1413. However, in the long run, they could not prevail against the mighty House of Habsburg, rulers of Tyrol since 1363. Arco Castle was captured in 1579, and the counts had to submit to the Habsburgs in 1614. Their estates were officially seized by Emperor Leopold I in 1680.
The castle was later abandoned after a siege by French troops under General Duke Louis Joseph of Vendôme in the course of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1703. A careful restoration began 1986 and following others in more recent years restorations have found a number of frescoes depicting knights and court ladies of medieval times.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.