Churwalden Abbey is a former Premonstratensian abbey, abandoned after the Protestant Reformation and was formally dissolved in 1803/07.
The abbey was founded under a provost around 1150 or 1164 by the Freiherr von Vaz. The abbey church of Saint Mary already stood on the site and was first mentioned in 1149 as S. Maria in silva Augeria. The vogt over the abbey lived in the nearby Strassberg Castle. Soon after its founding, in addition to the Permonstratensian canons regular, Augustinian nuns were living at the monastery. In 1208 an uprising of the lay brothers drove the provost and his supporters out of Churwalden. They eventually settled in Rüti Abbey in Rüti in the canton of Zürich. The monastery stood along one of the main trade roads over the alpine passes of Graubünden and became a resting place and hospital for travelers. By 1210 the hospital had its own chapel.
During the mid-13th century the Church of St. Michael was built about 250 m north of the abbey church. A fire around 1400 destroyed much of the monastery complex and over the following years it was gradually rebuilt. In 1446 it was raised from a monastery to an abbey. At some point during the 14th or 15th centuries the provost or abbot began building a comfortable tower house about 100 m south of the abbey church. The tower is four stories and an attic tall and was renovated multiple times over the following centuries. In 1472 it was partially gutted in a fire and the upper two stories were rebuilt in the early 16th century. The 1472 fire also destroyed the Church of St. Michael, which was rebuilt in the Gothic style and consecrated in 1502.
In the early 16th century the Protestant Reformation spread into the region and in 1527 was adopted partially adopted in Churwalden. A Protestant vogt was appointed over the abbey, abbey lands were confiscated and the monastery was forbidden to accept novices. In 1533 there was only one monk and the abbot still at Churwalden. In 1599, the previous abbot was not replaced and the remaining abbey lands were administered from Roggenburg. In 1616 the court in Churwalden declared that the church would have to be used for both catholic and Protestant services. In 1803 Roggenburg Abbey was closed and the remaining Churwalden lands were transferred to the seminary at St. Luzi. With this transfer, the abbey was formally dissolved. After 1599 the abbey buildings slowly fell into ruin and were eventually demolished, leaving only the abbot's tower and the Church of St. Maria and Michael.
The abbot's tower was built around the mid-15th century and rebuilt in the 16th century. The interior was renovated in 1870. Inside traces of late-Gothic murals are still visible, along with Renaissance wooden panels in the abbot's sitting room.
The original church on the site was the Romanesque Church of St. Michael, which was destroyed in a fire in 1472. It was rebuilt from 1477 until 1502 in the Gothic style. The current church is a three-apse building with a choirthat spans the entire width. The bell tower is located on the north side of the building. The unplastered tower was built between 1250 and 1340 and renovated in 1511. The west portal has a half-round arch that was once decorated with a coat of arms.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.