This palace is grand and can be seen from many vantage points in Naples. The facade facing the Piazza del Plebiscito contains niches with former kings of Naples and the enormity of the building is really apparent from this approach. The palace was begun in 1600 specifically for a visit to Naples by King Philip III of Spain, though he never visited. It was worked on for over two centuries and was finally finished 1843. Unfortunately, many of the baroque furnishings and interiors were destroyed in an early nineteenth century fire, so much of what can be seen today dates to the heavier Empire period.
The 30 or so public rooms and royal apartments of the Bourbon Kings of Naples on view are none-the-less splendid and can be seen for a few euro. Tours are self-guided unless you like to use an audio device. Visitor begin with one of the grandest stair halls of all time and ascend to the royal apartments. The first to be seen is the glittering Teatrino di Corte, the court theater built in 1768. From there, visitors move from one audience chamber to another, to the throne room, and finally to private apartments for the king and queen. The Sala di Ercole is one of the largest rooms and is truly magnificent. The Capella Palantina is absolutely beautiful and has treasures and vestments on display in glass cases. Don't miss the Neapolitan creche figures on display to the left of the main altar.
I'm not sure what attracts me to royal palaces, but I've seen a lot of them. This palace is, of course, steeped in history and shouldn't be missed. It's really a great experience for such a small admission fee.
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