Palazzo Donn’Anna in Naples

Naples feels like a city in constant, chaotic decay. One of the most beautiful examples of abandoned grandeur is Palazzo Donn’Anna, which sits on the edge of sea at Via Posillipo.

The facade appears to be crumbling and the empty windows gape open.

Palazzo Donn’Anna, however, was not abandoned. It was never finished to begin with.

Before Italy became a unified country in 1871, the region was composed of various city-states. In the 1600s, Naples fell under control of Spain, and so it was the Spanish Viceroy who conceived of this palace by the sea.

He ordered its construction for his wife, Anna Carafa.

Then he fled to Spain and Anna died – some say of heart break.

The palace was never completed, and now it sits as a backdrop for sunbathers and swimmers.

The palazzo is closed to public, but the nearby beach offers daily rentals of lounge chairs and umbrellas.

With the Palazzo Donn’Anna to one side and Mt. Vesuvius to the other, its hard to imagine a stretch of sand with a more interesting backdrop.

If you sit on the beach for the day, you might even catch a figure moving through the palazzo.

Some say that the palace is haunted, either by one of Anna’s nieces or by ghosts who partied at a villa that was previously in the same spot.

But it is much more likely to be a resident on their way home.

 

There were a few attempts to reclaim Palazzo Donn’Anna in the 1800s. First it was a bank that purchased the property, and later a hotel. Today, the disintegrating palace is subdivided into private condos.

If this in the view into the palace, I can only imagine what it would be like to live inside.

Palazzo Donn’Anna
Largo Donn’Anna,
80123 Naples, Italy

6 Comments

  • Reply Lucy July 31, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Oh wow what a beauty! A very haunting view for beach-goers. I think we might incorporate a trip to Naples into our honeymoon plans as I’ve never been to that stretch of Italy. Can’t think of a better place to explore! Fingers crossed there’s an Airbnb inside?? xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • Reply Natalie August 1, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Naples is such an interesting city with so many layers, but if you are in area and the time of year permits, I highly recommend staying in Procida for a bit of sea and sun for a few days

  • Reply Olena July 31, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Can people go to this beach for free?

    • Reply Natalie August 1, 2017 at 9:09 am

      I believe these are all beach clubs, so you pay a small fee for a chair and umbrella, as well as for free use of the club’s bathrooms and changing areas/showers.

  • Reply Terra August 3, 2017 at 1:52 am

    I didn’t get to Naples on my recent visit to Italy, but it’s definitely on my list for next time. That palazzo looks very, very cool.

    • Reply Natalie August 3, 2017 at 7:08 am

      It is such an interesting Italian city with so many little gems like this! hope you have a chance to explore more soon

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