Villa Pignatelli: an ancient residence in the Chiaia district
Villa Pignatelli is an elegant nineteenth-century mansion located just a few steps from the most beautiful promenade in the world, surrounded by a lush English garden, in the Chiaia district. It belonged to several noble families, but today it's home to two exhibition sections: the Pignatelli Cortès Museum and the Carriage Museum.
The history of Villa Pignatelli: a house-museum
The construction of the villa dates back to 1826, when the demanding Baron Acton finally accepted a proposal by the architect Valente, inspired by the Pompeian domus, after twenty-two projects rejected. Later on, Villa Pignatelli became the property of wealthy German bankers Rothschild, who ordered the construction of a secondary building at the north end of the park, called indeed the Rothschild building.
The villa, however, owns its fortune to the last owners, the Aragona Pignatelli Cortés family. Well-read nobles with a refined taste, they transformed the house into a real cultural center available to the city's intellectuals, and over the years they collected marbles, bronzes, porcelains, books and even records, which today form the heart of the collection displayed to visitors. In 1955, in fact, Villa Pignatelli, which became the property of the Italian state thanks to the will of Princess Rosina, turned into a house-museum, one of the few examples in Naples.
The museums of Villa Pignatelli: from the Pignatelli Cortès museum to the carriage museum
Through the park avenues, which wind between rare and local plants, you can reach the villa's ground floor, known as Pignatelli Cortès Museum
. The heart of the exhibition is the red living room, with the stuccos by Gaetano Genovese and the furnishings made by Neapolitan and French artisans. The adjacent green lounge instead, houses a rich collection of porcelain from Capodimonte, Vienna and Limoge which then continues into the dining room. The library, beautifully furnished with works by Criscuolo and Gemito, has 2000 volumes and more than 4000 records of lyric and classical music.
In the azure room, once the private living room of Princess Rosina, there is today an interesting photographic collection from the beginning of the 20th century, to learn more about the members of the Pignatelli family.
The concert hall and the Pompeian parlor, furnished with frescoes inspired by the findings of Pompeii, are also not to be missed. Finally, the beautiful veranda with the neo-Romanic style colonnade opens up towards the garden through and contains some interesting sculptures.
Last but not least is the Carriage Museum located in the Rothschil building, the ancient stables of Villa Pignatelli. Its rich collection is made up of thirty-four carriages that arrived through different donations, from Italy, from England and from France as well.
Horse riding enthusiasts can also admire numerous horse harnesses and a long list of specific equipment for this noble sport.
Ancient, traditional flavors just a stone's throw from Villa Pignatelli
If you feel like taking a tasty break after admiring the numerous art jewels of Villa Pignatelli, Naples can offer you an endless variety of delicacies.
Have fun exploring the narrow streets of the Chiaia district, and in just a few minutes you will reach the Antica Latteria
in Vico II Alabardieri n°30, an historic restaurant in the city's heart since the 1950s.
In a warm and welcoming atmosphere you can enjoy the best Neapolitan specialties, from pasta-based first courses to fresh fish from the Gulf, from the most typical desserts to the creations of Neapolitan master chocolatiers, passing through a rich selection of wines.
At Antica Latteria every dish is prepared with top quality ingredients, following the most authentic Neapolitan recipes.