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Visit Villa Pignatelli, a Neapolitan treasure ( location, hours, admission )

Come and discover the famous Villa Pignatelli, and its beautiful park, located near the sea, and built in the first half of the nineteenth century, is a great example of neoclassical architecture of the city of Naples.

Inside it there are two museum routes: Prince Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortés Museum housed in the main building and the Museum of carriages of Villa Pignatelli, housed in the stables on the ground floor of the so-called Palazzina Rotschild.

The architecture and gardens

This magnificent residence, planned as a Pompeian domus, is characterized by the symmetry of a perfectly square plan generated by the sum of two equal rectangles. This symmetry is extremely visible both from inside and outside the building. The latter developed on two floors, is preceded on what is the main elevation by an entrance porch with a colonnade of Doric inspiration whose space was intended for the manor house. The real entrance to the villa, however, is located on the back side, near the large atrium, which was designed by the architect Pietro Valente to access the building directly by carriage through two side ramps. The wonderful surrounding park, shaped in anglaise, is moved in the design of the avenues and varied in the choice of plants arranged as small groves. It was designed by the architect Guglielmo Bechi and today it looks exactly like the original layout. Finally, the park is enriched by other small buildings that make the environment picturesque; built at the end of the nineteenth century are: the neo-Gothic tower, the Swiss chalet and the old greenhouse.

Pignatelli-Cortés museum

We can consider the Pignatelli-Cortés Museum as a rare Italian example of a house museum. Everything inside those rooms seems to have remained faithful to the time of origin. All the objects and antique furniture in fact, are still perfectly placed in their original location within the various rooms. The princely residence is linked to the enjoyment and prestige of the rich aristocratic families who lived there: the Acton, the Rothschild and the Pignatelli families. The Pignatelli-Cortés Museum was formally built in 1955, when Princess Rosina Pignatelli donated the entire park and historic residence with all its furnishings, accessories and collections to the Italian State. In fact, the Museum mainly collects 19th century furniture, small pieces of antique art, silver objects, gilded bronze furnishings, small bronzes and porcelains of various manufactures that show the Pignatelli’s interest in collecting everything that had to do with the applied arts. In addition, the collections are enriched by the presence of an important library with over 2000 books and 4000 microgrooves of classical music and opera. The second floor, after the monumental staircase, displays the very important art collection of the Banco di Napoli with treasures ranging from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. In these rooms are preserved great artists such as Vincenzo Gemito, Giovanni Filippo Criscuolo, Domenico Guidi and Giacomo Balla, one of the protagonists of Italian Futurism with Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

Carriages museum and Rotschild building

The Museum of the carriages, is an unusual and extremely particular place, to consider as an unicum for the city of Naples. Named after the Marquis Mario d’Alessandro of Civitanova, it is housed in some rooms previously used as stables and sheds, located on the ground floor of the Rothschild Building in the northernmost part of the garden of Villa Pignatelli, behind the villa as itself. This museum was inaugurated in 1975 by Raffaello Causa, then Superintendent of the Campania galleries, thanks also to the intuition of the art historian and museologist Bruno Molajoli, who in 1960 received the donation of the prestigious collection of cars that the marquis had collected throughout his life. To this first nucleus were added other donations due to the generosity of some aristocrats such as the Marquis Spennati (1960), Count Dusmet (1962), Count Leonetti di Santojanni (1973), until the most recent donation Strigari in 1979. Inside this museum you can retrace the entire history of urban mobility in Naples, with all the companies that over the past two centuries have contributed to the development of the current transport system and new technologies. An important part of the museum is dedicated to the relationship between man and the horse, an animal that guaranteed excellent performance and that has contributed significantly to the history of man and his relative mobility.

photography house and other projects

Villa Pignatelli Cortés is also famous for the different cultural initiatives it offers to the city of Naples. In addition to the already mentioned Museum Pignatelli Cortès and Museum of the Carriages hosts a project called House of Photography It is to be considered as an open space for discussion, suitable for hosting and events, meetings that encourage debate in the city and internationally on the various issues concerning photography as a cultural and social expression. The choice is to promote an art and a heritage of ideas not always known to the general public, but also the knowledge of authors and trends in contemporary photography at the international level. Both the morphology of the various rooms, specially restored for this purpose, and the context of the villa within the city of Naples, help to promote that character of institutionality to the photographic sector and recover the interest and attention to a discipline that deserves to be at the center of the international dispute.
INFORMATION Address: Riviera di Chiaia, 200, 80121 Naples (NA)
Timetable: Mon-Sun 8.30-17.00 (Tuesday closed )
Ticket € 5 full – € 2 reduced for visitors aged between 18 and 25 years – € 2 entrance ticket to the park only Free entrance for under 18 years old

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