Charles of Anjou’s decision to build a New Castle as Royal Palace has a great importance for the urban history of Naples.

With the construction of the Castle, the place for the future political, administrative and military center of the Kingdom Capital is determined. In fact, at the extreme limit of the castle in the XVI century the Vice-king Palace will be built.

In 1279 the works for the New Castle began, being necessary for the inadequacy of the Egg-Castle (Castel dell’Ovo) – too isolated to the seaside and away from the city – and Capuana Castle too far from the coast. The architect who oversaw the construction was Pierre de Chaule, who made the Castle fit for habitation already in 1282, even though the works were completed only in 1284.

The only representation we have of Naples in the late Angevin era is a front of a box painted by an unknown artist between the fourteenth and fifteenth century, preserved in New York. Representation in which it is possible to distinguish the main buildings of New Castle , Castel dell ‘Ovo , the pier , the city walls, the Palatine Chapel .

In the absence of precise iconographic sources we can get an idea of ​​the Angevin New Castle thanks to written documents and by comparison with contemporary French and Southern surviving structures .

The Palatine Chapel built starting in 1307 by Giovanni d’Isernia Caraccio, was completed in 1309 and it is the only part of the Castle preserving the fourteenth-century structure . It has a single rectangular nave , without side chapels and a flat apse enclosed by towers which connect the religious building to other castle areas.

On the walls there are traces of vaults from a previous era, the ceiling was replaced with a barrel vault in the 1500s, later demolished by modern restorations. The apse is lit by two mullioned windows and a large mullioned window on the back wall . On the facade is now possible to observe the large rose window from the Aragon age.

Around the castle there was a moat in which sea water never flowed.

Uncertain are the numbers and the shape of the towers, but according to numerous historical data there certainly stood four in the corners and at least three to the seaside. On the northern side which faced the city, sources report the presence of a Gate flanked by two towers, according to traditional schemes.

Connected with the defense structures of the Castle we find the tower of St. Vincent built in 1389 on a small island on the sea, well evidently shown in all the representations, until its demolition in 1742 .



The sources do not indicate the towers shape, but we do know that in France they were circular in shape, while in Italy they had a square or polygonal form. Near the Castle, buildings were built for the children of Charles II and under the reign of Robert the park was created and continually embellished.

Following fires, sieges and wars the Angevin New Castle fell into disrepair.

In 1442 Alphonse the Magnanimous went to Naples and immediately decreed the reconstruction of the Castle. In 1450 the restoration, repeatedly interrupted by wars, brought radical changes to the Castle.

The new towers were set and adapted to a modern defense, less high and less slender, with powerful footings, with grooves not only concave but spiral, to prevent the support of stairs and war machines. The Beverello, gold, and St. George towers were ended, as well as the two Gate towers.

The work continued until 1456, the year of the earthquake that caused severe damage to the tower of St. George and the Palatine Chapel.

The Table Strozzi describes in detail the Castle and the surrounding area, flanked by written sources it allows the reading of architectural structures. In the Table the Castle appears inserted among gardens and Prince houses, and the area now occupied by Square Plebiscito seems completely flat .

The painting gives us the perspective of the city on the sea, as the true protagonist of the work is the return of the Aragon fleet after the victory against the Angevins at the Battle of Ischia in 1465. New Castle is depicted with great precision, we can clearly distinguish the materials with which it is built thanks to the variation of colors allowing us to recognize the gray of piperno stone from the yellow tuff .

 Table Strozzi

Table Strozzi

In all fifteen century representations, the features making the New Castle the largest fortified Palace of the 1400s appear evident. The most famous spot in the Castle is the Barons Hall, now home to the City Council, so called because in 1486 the Barons who had conspired against King were arrested.

Stepping through the door at the top of the stairs you enter a large, almost cubic hall whose walls are topped by a huge vault open at the top by a large oculus.

Unfortunately the Hall in 1919 was devastated by a fire that totally wiped out the beautiful decorations.

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