Chignolo Po Castle is a beautiful eighteenth-century patrician residence, museum of art and customs, called 'the Versailles of Lombardy'. It contains important and precious testimonies of the lavish world of Lombard and Venetian nobility.
The oldest part of the castle, born as a fortress on a hill, is the great Tower, from which a long stretch of the Po (Cuneulus super Padum). It is believed that it was built by the King Liutprando around 740 AD, when Pavia was the capital of the gods Longobardi, with the purpose of serving as a defense fortress and a garrison on the Po and on the Via di Monte Bordone, subsequently named via Francigena - Romea that connected Northern Europe with Rome.
In front of the fort, towards the north, stands the Borgo, which was entirely rebuilt in the 1600. It is characterized as an architectural complex protected at the entrance by a moat, by two garries, and by four ravels (towers) on the far sides.
The castle, in a short time, starting from the XIII century, became one of the greatest Feudi Lombardi, on which i first settled Pusterla, until, in the 1340, this family was involved in an anti-viscosity and fiercely exterminated conspiracy.Then came in Federici and Cusani, which increased to the maximum the power of the Castle, also receiving continuous privileges and concessions from the Kings and Dukes of Milan.
From 1700 to 1730 it was expanded and transformed from a medieval fortress into a real one 18thcentury palace where they stayed Popes, Emperors, Kings, Princes and Archdukes.
Tiepolesque school artists were entrusted with the realization of the stuccos and paintings that embellish the halls of representation of the Castle.The work was carried out by the will and financing of the owner of the time, the Cardinal Agostino Cusani Visconti (1655 - 1715), who was Ambassador of the Pope to the Venetian Republic and to the Court of Louis XIV in Paris, as well as the Bishop of Pavia.
The spectacular baroque courtyard, the large frescoed halls of Tiepolesque school, the refinement of the stuccos and decorations, the dominant tower with its masurized turreted stone, all immersed in a gentle rural landscape, make this monument one of the most important Italian historical residences.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.