Museo di Capodimonte is an art museum located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples. The museum is the prime repository of Neapolitan painting and decorative art, with several important works from other Italian schools of painting, and some important ancient Roman sculptures. It is one of the largest museums in Italy.
The vast collection at the museum traces its origins back to 1738. During that year King Charles VII of Naples and Sicily (later Charles III, king of Spain) decided to build a hunting lodge on the Capodimonte hill, but then decided that he would instead build a grand palace, partly because his existing residence, the Palace of Portici, was too small to accommodate his court, and partly because he needed somewhere to house the fabulous Farnese art collection which he had inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese, last descendant of the sovereign ducal family of Parma.
Over the years the palace was enlarged and filled with more art. In 1787, on the advice of Jacob Philipp Hackert, a laboratory for the restoration of paintings was created.
When the Parthenopaean Republic was declared in 1799, Ferdinand fled to Palermo on board Nelson's Vanguard, taking the most valuable items from the museum with him. What remained was looted by the French troops of General Championnet who were billeted there during the short life of the Republic in 1799. Later on during the ten years of French reoccupation (1806 to 1815), the art collection was transferred to the Naples National Archaeological Museum. When King Ferdinand returned from Sicily in 1815, he employed many painters and sculptors to work on the redecoration of the palace . It was finally completed in 1840, and a gallery housing contemporary art was added.
After the palace passed in 1861 to the House of Savoy, further pieces were added to the art collections, appointing Domenico Morelli as consultant for new acquisitions. They also added an extensive collection of historic firearms and other weapons. In 1866, the boudoirof Maria Amalia of Saxony was transferred to Capodimonte from the Palace of Portici, and in 1877 a Roman era marble floor was brought in from a Roman villa on Capri.
After the end of the monarchy, the palace became purely a national museum in 1950, with many of the exhibits being returned from the National Museum.
The first and second floors house the Galleria Nazionale (National Gallery), with paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries including major works by Simone Martini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Masaccio, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgio Vasari, El Greco, Jacob Philipp Hackert and many others. The museum is by far the best place to see paintings of the Neapolitan School, often under-appreciated by the wider world, with large holdings of Jusepe de Ribera, Luca Giordano, the Neapolitan Caravaggisti and many others (see List of works in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte). Much of the ground floor is taken up by part of the magnificent Farnese collection of classical, mostly Roman, monumental sculpture, which survives here and in the Naples National Archaeological Museumlargely intact.
Elsewhere in the palace the royal apartments are furnished with antique 18th-century furniture and a collection of porcelain and majolica from the various royal residences.References:
The two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m in length and 109 m wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored). The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.
This new residential role continued until the late 18th century, and in 1825 through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, the change to national historical monument began. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena - a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with other Roman buildings of the city, as part of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments group.