Largo Donn'Anna, 9, Napoli, 80123 NA, Italia
Stylish and smoochy, mysterious and intimidating, full of history and ghostly: it’s very hard to find all these things in just one place, but “Palazzo Donn’Anna” in Posillipo is the best synthesis in between all these elements. Before you go there, we are warning you: if you are scared of ghosts you should start calling the Ghost Busters! Lots of legends hover in there, too many maybe.
This palace is so fascinating and not just because of its long history, which began in the 1600s. It was built, all in tuff, on the mermaid rock and it reaches right down to the sea, that much that sometimes it looks like it’s falling down. Its name comes from the Spanish viceroy de Guzmàn’s awful wife: Anna Carafa.
It’s such a perfect place for a movie (it’s no coincidence it has been used for many) thanks to its scenography made by three floors with arcades, loggias, terraces and recesses, which were supposed to hosts some sculptures, before Masaniello’s blackguards emptied it out, justifying themselves then saying “A famm’ er famm” (which means “hungry was hungry” in Neapolitan dialect, even if it looks like French… you can definitely see their dominion here!).
Palazzo Donn’Anna was were Neapolitan aristocrats used to go partying, and they used to go there by their own ships, enjoying fireworks from the sea. Only for a little time though, as the palace had still to be accomplished and “Donn’Anna”’s death prevented its finalisation. But it’s exactly what makes it so special and gives it an eternal charm. After her death, Queen Giovanna I of Angiò spent there a hundred of nights with her fishermen lovers (real sex symbols at the time) and legend has it she used to kill them and throw them to the sea, before dawn, after she slept with them, bless them!
There is an internal theatre, which is open and it overlooks on the Gulf of Naples, and some motorboats pits. During nights it becomes so romantic, but just up to a point because, as Matilde Serao wrote, there are ghosts in this palace. Can’t believe in it? Go and have a look yourself, but if you meet Donna’Anna’s nephew’s ghost, Mercedes de las Torres, who turned deadly after she kissed one of the vice queen’s lovers, don’t say you’ve never been warned….
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