Rheinau Abbey (Kloster Rheinau) was a Benedictine monastery in Rheinau founded about 778 and suppressed in 1862. It is located on an island in the Rhine.
The foundation of the abbey, on a strategically sheltered bend of the Rhine, is supposed to have taken place in about 778. The abbey is first documented however in the 11th century. In 1114 a Romanesque basilica was dedicated here and in 1120 the still extant archive begun. The early history of the abbey, like that of many others, consists of an alternation between generous endowments and privileges from the Holy Roman Emperors, and oppression and fraud from the Vögte (lords protector). In 1126 Count Rudolf of Lenzburg founded the adjoining settlement of Rheinau.
Against the increasingly aggressive territorial claims of the Counts of Sulz the abbey made a treaty in 1455 with the Old Swiss Confederacy, which was intended to protect it against further attacks by the noble families of the Klettgau. In 1529 the Reformation swept in from Zürich and overwhelmed the abbey, which was abandoned shortly afterwards. It was re-established however in 1532, and became a centre of the Counter-reformation.
In the 18th century under Abbot Gerold II Zurlauben, Rheinau Abbey, like St. Gallen, enjoyed a late resurgence. Gerold had the abbey church (re-dedicated 1710) and the monastic complex (in construction up to 1744) magnificently re-built in the Baroque style, much as they appear today.
During the turmoil of the French Revolution and the French invasion of Switzerland in 1798, the abbey was temporarily suspended, but restored in 1803. The abbey's territory with the little town of Rheinau were added to the newly restored Canton of Zürich, which placed it under cantonal supervision in 1834 and from 1836 prevented it from accepting new novices. In 1862 the cantonal council decreed the dissolution of the abbey.
From 1603 until its dissolution the abbey was a member of the Swiss Congregation, now part of the Benedictine Confederation.
In 1867 in the abbey buildings a cantonal hospital and nursing home were set up. The later cantonal psychiatric clinic that developed here was closed in 2000. In the years 2003-2005 parts of the outbuildings were renovated. Today guided tours are available.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.