September 27, 2012

Castel Nuovo

Castel Nuovo (Italian: "New Castle") is a medieval castle in the city of Naples, southern Italy. The castle is also known as Maschio Angioino, named to honor King Charles I of Anjou (Charles I of Naples), by order of which it was built.
Before the accession of Charles I of Anjou to the throne in 1266, the capital of the Kingdom of Naples was Palermo. But there was a royal residence in Naples called Castel Capuano. However, when the capital was moved to Naples, Charles of Anjou ordered the construction of a new castle, not far from the sea, built to house the court. The work, carried out by French architects Pierre de Chaulnes and Stone Angincour began in 1279 and was completed three years later in 1282. From the very beginning it was called "Castrum Novum" to distinguish it from the older castles dell'Ovo and Capuano.
Due to the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the new fortress remained uninhabited until 1285, when Charles died and was succeeded by his son, Charles II. Castel Nuovo soon became the nucleus of the historical center of the city, and was often the site of famous events. For example, on December 13, 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned as pope in a hall of the castle. Eleven days later, Boniface VIII was elected pope here by the cardinal collegium and immediately moved to Rome to avoid the Angevin authority.
Under king Robert (reigned from 1309), the castle was enlarged and embellished, becoming a centre of patronage of art and giving hospitality to artists, doctors and men of letters among whom were Giotto, Petrarch and Boccaccio.
In 1347 Castel Nuovo was sacked by the army of Louis I of Hungary, and had to be heavily restored after the return of queen Joanna I. The new works permitted the queen to resist the Hungarian siege during Louis' second expedition. The castle was besieged numerous times in the following years, and was the official residence of King Ladislaus from 1399. It decayed under his sister Joanna II.

Attribution: MM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Name: Castel Nuovo
Location: Naples

Region:  south  
Country:  Italy

Type:    Gothic
Material: Sandstone

Construction: 1279-1282
Condition:  opened to the public

In 1442, the Anjevins were succeeded by the Aragonese Alfonso V who, like his predecessors, used the Castel Nuovo as the royal residence, beginning work of reconstruction and having built, on the outside walls, between the Torre di Mezzo (Halfway Tower) and the Torre di Guardia (Watch Tower) the impressive Triumphal Arch to celebrate his victorious entry into the city of Naples. The arch was designed by Francesco Laurana. The decoration was executed by the sculptors Pere Johan and Guillem Sagrera, called by Alfonso from Catalonia.
The time of the Aragonese saw the passage from the medieval castle-palace to the fortress as it now appears; it was adapted to the new needs of a time of war and the area surrounding the Castle lost the residential character it had under the Anjevins. The structure of the Aragonese building is undoubtedly more massive than its Anjevin predecessor and was quite similar to the present-day castle, which is the result of the clearance works of the early years of the 20th century.
In 1456, the castle withstood the earthquake that destroyed the city. In 1486, in a hall of the castle the famous Barons conspiracy against King Ferdinand I, Alfonso's son, occurred. The King had invited the barons for a feast; but, a certain point, he had the garrison close all the hall's doors and all the barons were arrested and later executed.
Attribution:Stephen Salomons,  License
In 1494 Castel Nuovo was captured by the soldiers of the army of King Charles VIII of France and Naples Kingdom was annexed by Spain. At that time, the castle was reduced from king’s residence to the viceroy’s residence. During the viceroy period (1503-1734), the defence structures of the castle, needed for purely military purposes, underwent further modification. The castle was the temporary residence of the Spanish kings during their visits in the city, such as that of Charles V in 1535. With the advent of Charles III of Bourbon, who defeated the emperor Charles VI in 1734, the castle was again used as a king’s residence. It was surrounded by buildings of all kinds, warehouses and houses, and this happened time and time again. 10/01/1805 Castel Nuovo was taken by Russian squadron under the command of Senyavin. Until 1837 the castle was an artillery arsenal.
Attribution:Setiritter's photostream, License
The last restoration of Castel Nuovo occurred in 1823. In the first two decades of the 20th century, the Municipal Council began the work of isolating the castle from the annexed buildings in recognition of the historical and monumental importance of the fortress and the need to reclaim the piazza in front of it. The present castle is a trapezoid, and the eastern side of which is a little rough. At the corners of the castle are strong round towers, one tower is located near the gate. At the top of the towers have platforms with battlements and machicolations. Full height of the towers is about 55 meters. On three sides of the castle moat surrounds and before close to the eastern walls of the castle was sea. Around the castle were located not have survived the fortifications.
Until 2006 in the Hall of Barons met the city council. Today the castle is the venue of cultural events and also houses the Municipal Museum. 


  1. very circular castle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!