Castel Nuovo

Naples, Italy

The building of the Castel Nuovo began in 1279 under the reign of Charles I of Anjou, on the basis of a plan by the French architect Pierre de Chaule. The strategic position of the new castle gave it the characteristics not only of a royal residence, but also those of a fortress. From the very beginning it was called Castrum Novum to distinguish it from the older castles dell'Ovo and Capuano.

During the reign of Robert of Anjou the castle became a centre of culture giving hospitality to artists, doctors and men of letters among whom were Giotto, Petrarch and Boccaccio. The Anjevins were succeeded by the Aragonese Alfonso I who, like his predecessors, used the Castel Nuovo as the royal residence, beginning work of reconstruction and having built, on the outside walls, between the Torre di Mezzo (Halfway Tower) and the Torre di Guardia (Watch Tower) the impressive Triumphal Arch to celebrate his victorious entry into the city of Naples.

The time of the Aragonese saw the passage from the medieval castle-palace to the fortress as it now appears; it was adapted to the new needs of a time of war and the area surrounding the Castle lost the residential character it had under the Anjevins. The structure of the Aragonese building is undoubtedly more massive than its Anjevin predecessor and was quite similar to the present-day castle, which is the result of the clearance works of the early years of the 20th century.

At the end of the 15th century, the French succeeded to the Aragonese, though they did not remain for long as they were succeeded in turn by the Spanish viceroys and the Austrians. During the viceroy period (1503-1734), the defence structures of the castle, needed for purely military purposes, underwent further modification. With the advent of Charles III of Bourbon, who defeated the emperor Charles VI in 1734, the castle was surrounded by buildings of all kinds, warehouses and houses, and this happened time and time again. 

In the first two decades of the 20th century, the Municipal Council began the work of isolating the castle from the annexed buildings in recognition of the historical and monumental importance of the fortress and the need to reclaim the piazza in front of it. The castle is today the venue of cultural events and also houses the Municipal Museum. 

A tour of the museum takes us from the Armoury Hall, the Palatine or Saint Barbara Chapel, the first and second levels of the southern courtyard and the Charles V Hall and the Sala della Loggia which are to host exhibitions and cultural events.



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Founded: 1279
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Antonia B Vasile (5 months ago)
Didn't go in but yard and outside. Interesting but it has the water pit around it filled with constructions materials for the sounding area works... This is not how you attract tourists.
Nancy D (5 months ago)
Enjoyed the guided tour of the castle. You need to reserve your spot online and once there, you pay 6 euros (card only - no cash) for general admission and if you would like to see the tower and other areas you need to pay an additional 10 euros. The guide was informative and took questions.
Dominic Carpin (5 months ago)
I really enjoyed this place. I came into Naples by ferry for the first time with no knowledge of the city other than to be mindful of the pickpockets. The structure is the first major thing you see after getting off the boat. Is fate would have it my accommodation was right across the piazza from it. I had a delay of a few hours waiting for my check-in so I left my luggage with the people operating the apartment and went back to see the Civic Museum. At 6 euros unguided it's a no-brainer. Safe haven from the intense Neapolitan sun and heat. Lots of places to hang out in the shade at the main gate. Remember you have to not only reserve a spot online but also purchase a ticket. I was very impressed with the Museo Civico. Three stories of artwork with dramatic views of Mount Vesuvius and the Naples Harbor. Unfortunately I never completed my visit because there was a security issue and they made everyone leave.
Lance Herrod (6 months ago)
Giant size Castle Nuovo is currently being renovated some you can only view the outside...I would recommend walking near the port only although they have scooter available downtown is not scooter friendly. A few blocks pass the main street where the cruise port the neighborhood get rough and dirtiers with a more inter-city chicago feel. Be Careful...Stay in tourist area near the port and you'll be find. Also, the is a heavy police presence in the tourist are near the port.
Chris Bowman (9 months ago)
Some historical art works, some good views of the bay. I don't like that they have an arbitrarily complicated pricing system where you have to pay an additional admission fee to go up one of the towers. It's an impressive structure but there could be more comprehensive information about more of the rooms given in a more engaging way.
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