Palazzo Donn'Anna

sights / Architecture

Palazzo Donn'Anna information

Location
Naples , Italy
Address
Largo Donn'Anna 9
Getting there
Bus: 140 to Via Posillipo
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Few buildings fire up the local gossipmongers like Posillipo’s seaside Palazzo Donn’Anna . Incomplete, semiderelict yet strangely beautiful, it takes its name from Anna Carafa, for whom it was built as a wedding present from her husband, Ramiro Guzman, the Spanish viceroy of Naples. When Guzman hotfooted it back to Spain in 1644 he left his wife heartbroken in Naples. She died shortly afterwards and architectural whiz-kid Cosimo Fanzago gave up the project. The grand yet forlorn heap sits on the site of an older villa, La Sirena (The Mermaid), reputed setting for Queen Joan’s scandalous sex orgies and crimes of passion (rumour has it that fickle Joan dumped her lovers straight into the sea). Exactly which Queen Joan is up for debate. Some believe her royal nastiness was Joan I (1326–82), daughter of Charles, Duke of Calabria. Her list of alleged wicked deeds includes knocking off her husband. Others place their bets on Joan II (1373–1435), sister of King Ladislao, her appetite for men remains the stuff of licentious legend. Palazzo Donn’Anna is not open to the public.