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Villa Pignatelli

The most striking building along the Riviera di Chiaia, the road bounding the north side of the Villa Comunale on the sea front between Mergellina and Piazza Vittoria, is certainly the Museo Principe di Aragona Pignatelli Cortes, known to Neapolitans, simply, as Villa Pignatelli

In 1826, Ferdinand Acton entrusted to Pietro Valente the task of building a Greco-Roman style residence that would then, in the English fashion of the day, be the centerpiece of a park. The intention of Valenti and the owner was to create a kind of Pompeian villa with the central atrium moved to the front of the building where Doric columns would then provide the only opening onto the gardens. The magnificence of these columns still strikes the eye of the casual passer-by today from the avenue fifty yards away. 

The property has changed hands a few times since the construction of the villa. It was bought in 1841 by Karl Meyer von Rothschild of the German family of financiers; then in 1867 it came into the hands of the Duke of Monteleone, Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes, whose widow then willed it to the Italian state in 1952. The villa today has managed to preserve and maintain intact the fine gardens in front of the building. The grounds house a coach museum, a collection of French and English vehicles from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It is also the site of numerous art shows.


Update Dec 2015


The Villa Pignatelli reopened on Saturday, Dec. 19th, after a six-month complete restoration, including sections that have been closed for a number of years. The results are impressive.




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