At the west end of Cumbernauld Airport runway is the site of a Roman fort on the former Westerwood farm. Very little is visible on the ground today, but portions of the fort’s southern defensive ditches may be traced as subtle hollows within the field.
The fort at Westerwood is the fourth smallest known along the Antonine Wall, with an internal area of about 0.8ha, situated on a steep decline toward the north. The existing farm buildings occupy the fort’s north-east quadrant. The Antonine Wall Rampart and Ditch composed the fort’s northern defences, while a turf rampart and double ditches marked the fort’s east, south, and west sides (an additional short section of a third ditch is located north of the fort’s west gate). The Antonine Wall Rampart had a stone base measuring 4.3m wide, while the Ditch measured about 12m wide. The fort’s other ramparts were likewise constructed atop a stone base, about 4.8m wide everywhere except for on the southeast, where it measured only 4.3m. The fort featured four gates, with the east and west gates located approximately one-third of the distance between the Antonine Wall Rampart and the fort’s south rampart; the Military Way crossed the fort through these gates.
Excavation has revealed that the Antonine Wall Rampart base was constructed before the fort’s other ramparts, suggesting that the fort was secondary (not part of the original plan for the frontier), but it remains unclear if a gap in the Rampart’s base at the fort’s north gate was made during the Rampart’s construction, or was made when the fort was added later.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.