Together with the Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure to the west and the Castello di Rapallo to the east, Castello di Punta Pagana formed part of the Genoese coastal defence system for the protection of villages on the western Tigullio gulf.
Construction of the fort began in April 1625 by the Republic of Genoa. Its construction became necessary due to the open hostilities between Genoa and Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, which raised fears of a Piedmontese land or sea attack.
The fort cost over 50,000 lire, and construction work progressed rapidly thanks to new taxes that allowed for the purchase of the material and paying workers' salaries. Construction was well underway by December 1625, and the moat and drawbridge were ready by 1627. The fort was fully completed and commissioned by the Republic of Genoa on 28 July 1631. It was armed with enough weapons, ammunition and gunpowder for a sudden attack.
Fortunately for the inhabitants of the nearby village of San Michele di Pagana, the area was never attacked by pirates or enemy soldiers and the fort never saw use. In 1644, the Genoese senate ordered the castellan to abandon the fort and send all military equipment inside on a galley to Genoa.
The castle was subsequently garrisoned by local soldiers, and it became the headquarters of the Commissariato di Sanità di Rapallo (Health Commissariat of Rapallo). The Bombardment of Genoa by the French fleet in 1684 caused fears of another attack, so the fort was rearmed. However, no attacks occurred, and the fort was finally abandoned in 1705. It later became private property, forming part of the grounds of the nearby Villa Pagana.
The fort has belonged to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 1959, when the last owner of the villa passed on the entire property to the Order.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.