The Castel Nuovo is a historical palace in Naples, Italy, and dates back to 1279. It is often referred to as Maschio Angioino. The Naples Castle draws thousands of visitors to Naples every year, together with other attractions including the Castel dell'Ovo, the Roman ruins, and the Palace of Caserta. The castle is located close to the Piazza del Plebiscito and the port area of the city. The fact that this phenomenal construct remains in the condition that it does is testament to just how solid the history of Naples is. The Greeks first settled this historic port city in southern Italy in the 8th century B.C.E. and it grew and thrived as an important route as industry and trade grew. It remains to this day as a formidable symbol of medieval architecture that has come to represent the style of the ancient city of Naples.
In 1266, Charles I became the ruler of the Kingdom of Naples, whose capital was in Palermo at the time. When it was decided that the capital of the Kingdom of Naples would be moved to Naples itself, Charles ordered that a castle be built by the sea. The Castel dell’Ovo and Castel Capuano were not sufficient in size or grandeur for the sovereigns of the time, and so the Castel Nuovo was built. The first version of the castle was completed in 1282. It was designed by a French architect named Pierre d’Angicourt.
The Maschio Angioino was significantly embellished and enlarged in the fifteenth century by Alfonso I of d’Aragona, the first ruler of the Aragonese dynasty. Around the time, the spectacular Triumphal Arch of Alfonso I of Aragona was erected in between two of the castle’s towers. The arch remains to this day one of the most impressive examples of Renaissance architecture in the entire city of Naples. There are five towers at the Castel Nuovo: di San Giorgio, del Beverello, di Mezzo, di Guardia, and dell’Orro. Del Beverello is the place to enjoy fantastic views of the harbor.
Across from the gorgeous facade of the Naples Castle is the Sala dei Baroni. It is a huge room (89 feet wide by 92 feet high) and its most notable and celebrated characteristic is the star-shaped vaulted ceiling decorated with frescoes by Giotto in the fourteenth century.
Today, when you visit Castel Nuovo in Naples Italy, you can also explore the Civic Museum (Museo Civico), which is housed within the castle. This particular museum in Naples contains a wide selection of artwork and important items from monuments around the city. An important part of the exhibit is contained within Cappella Palatina (the only extant part of the Angevin castle). The chapel, which was constructed in the early part of the fourteenth century, is another of the attractions at the Castel Nuovo, with its tabernacle, rose window, and broad selection of sculptures from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
It is well worth a trip to the Castel Nuovo if you are spending any time at all in Naples. It is certainly among the top attractions in the capital of the Campania region, together with tourist favorites like Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast.