Construction of the Château de Guermantes was undertaken by Claude Viole (died 1638), whose family had possessed the fief of 'Le Chemin' since the mid-16th century. Paulin Pondre (1650-1723) purchased the property in 1698. He engaged Jules Hardouin-Mansart for renovations to the building, completed in 1710, and André Le Nôtre to lay out the garden. Pondre had become one of the most powerful financiers of the reign of Louis XIV; he was appointed President of the Cour des Comptes in 1713.
Guermantes is built of brick with stone facings and quoins, in an H-plan, with projecting pavilions flanking the corps de logis, under tall sloping slate roofs and tall chimney stacks. The house stands in a large park. The front is now approached in the English manner, with a drive sweeping to the side and an unbroken expanse of lawn. On the garden front, the house stands on a terrace with steps leading down to the former parterre, which is now lawn, and the expanse of water in the formally shaped pièce d'eau, from the far end of which the château is reflected in its entirety.
The original furnishings of Guermantes have been scattered, but rooms retain their 17th- and 18th-century boiseries. The family Pondre maintained the property until 1929.
In 1719 the Scottish economist and financier John Law purchased Guermantes for 800,000 livres. He only enjoyed possession for a matter of months. When the economic bubble created by his Mississippi Scheme burst, his life came under threat and he begged Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, the Regent, for permission to leave Paris. The Regent initially only granted Law permission to retire to the Château de Guermantes, and it was there that he spent his final days in France. On the evening of 17 December 1720, Law set off from the Château de Guermantes and fled France never to return. Paulin Pondre was able to take possession once more; his family were dispossessed at the Revolution.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.