Castel Nuovo

Castle in Naples

Castel Nuovo, Naples
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ra Boe / Wikipedia

Castel Nuovo, commonly referred to as Maschio Angioino, is a medieval fortress located in front of Piazza Municipio near the city hall, Palazzo San Giacomo, in the heart of Naples, Campania, Italy. With its strategic placement and grand scale, the castle, erected in 1279, stands as one of Naples’ principal architectural landmarks and served as a royal residence for kings of Naples, Aragon, and Spain until 1815. Today, it hosts the Neapolitan Society of Homeland History and the Naples Committee of the Institute for the History of the Italian Risorgimento, alongside a civic museum that includes the Palatine Chapel and museum pathways on its upper floors.

Historical Overview of Castel Nuovo

Origins and the Angevin Dynasty Castel Nuovo’s initial construction was spearheaded by Charles I of Anjou following his defeat of the Hohenstaufens in 1266. This marked the shift of the Sicilian capital from Palermo to Naples, forming a new urban core around the royal power, complemented by the adjacent Castel Capuano and Castel dell’Ovo. Designed by French architect Pierre de Chaulnes, the castle’s construction commenced in 1279 and concluded swiftly in 1282, though it initially remained unused due to ongoing conflicts until Charles I’s death in 1285.

Kingdom of Naples and Cultural Flourishing Under Charles II and later Robert of Naples, the castle underwent significant expansions and became a vibrant cultural hub, attracting renowned figures such as Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, and painters like Giotto who decorated the Palatine Chapel in 1332. The castle continued to play a central role in the turbulent political landscape, surviving sieges and hosting dramatic episodes like the abdication of Pope Celestine V in 1294.

Aragonese and Spanish Rules The Aragonese conquest brought a new phase of reconstruction under Alfonso V of Aragon in 1443. Architect Guillem Sagrera transformed it into a Catalan Gothic masterpiece, emphasizing its role as a royal palace with a triumphal arch entrance crafted by Francesco Laurana. Throughout the Spanish domination, the castle’s importance as a residence waned, shifting more toward a military garrison and occasional royal accommodation, highlighted during Charles V’s brief stay in 1535.

Later History and Restoration The castle’s role shifted significantly under the Bourbons and later the formation of the Neapolitan Republic in 1799. Substantial restorations in the 19th and early 20th centuries aimed to preserve its historical essence, culminating in extensive renovations in the 1920s that restored its medieval character and adapted it for public use, including the establishment of gardens and museum spaces.

Castel Nuovo’s rich history not only reflects the architectural and political evolution of Naples but also its enduring cultural significance, housing invaluable artworks and serving as a pivotal site for historical research and public engagement in the modern era.

The Castel Nuovo appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Naples!

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Visiting Castel Nuovo


Monday to Saturday: 8:30 am to 6 pm.

Sunday: 10 am to 1 pm.


Adults: € 6 (£ 5.10).

Address: Castel Nuovo, Via Vittorio Emanuele III, Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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