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Located in the splendid setting of the Royal Palace of Capodimonte, the National Museum of Capodimonte contains some of the most beautiful art collections in the world, ranging from Caravaggio to Raphael, up to Andy Warhol. During your trip to Naples, the works of art that are housed in the iconic palace on the Capodimonte hill are absolutely a must-see. Welcome to one of the most important museums in Italy.
The palace that still stands out on Capodimonte hill was commissioned by the king Charles III of Spain, who ascended the throne in 1734 and dealt with the problem of arranging the works of art that he had inherited from his mother Elisabeth Farnese. He therefore decided to use a new building as a museum. The construction works began in 1738 and continued over the years with numerous enlargements and inaugurations of new rooms in order to house the thousands of paintings and sculptures, that were arranged divided by artist.
The Capodimonte palace, however, has had a troubled history in the 19th century: following the occupation of Naples by the French, who looted the museum of numerous works of art, and the subsequent restoration of the Bourbon royal family, the palace was transformed into the Royal Palace of Capodimonte. In this guise, it first hosted the Bourbons, and it then was the residence of the Duke of Aosta following the unification of Italy.
It was only after the Second World War, during the enthusiasm of the reconstruction, that the Royal Palace of Capodimonte returned to its original museum aim. The National Museum of Capodimonte was opened in 1957, with its paintings divided by historical collections in chronological order, accompanied by explanatory texts and drawings. The museum has also been enriched over the years with new collections, that were readily added to the museum’s halls.
The National Museum of Capodimonte, built on three floors, houses twelve galleries and collections of priceless works of art, ranging from 1200s to contemporary art. Among the most remarkable pieces we find the Flagellation of Christ by Caravaggio, Portrait of a young girl by Titian, kept in the Farnese Gallery together with Antea by Parmigianino, and many other paintings and sculptures by Raphael, Peter Brueghel the Elder, Giambologna, Guido Reni and dozens and dozens of other artists.
For those who are passionate about the Middle Ages, the hall dedicated to the d’Avalos collection (with its Tapestries depicting the Battle of Pavia) is absolutely worth visiting, as well as the hall dedicated to the painters of the 19th century, among which you can admire the works of Vincenzo Gemito, Raffaele Belliazzi and Michele Cammarano, whose work La Breccia di Porta Pia literally acts as a watershed with the contemporary art gallery, where the great master of pop art Andy Warhol pays homage to Naples with his Vesuvius.