When Ferdinand Acton, a minister at the court of King Ferdinand IV (1759–1825), asked Pietro Valente to design Villa Pignatelli in 1826, Valente whipped up this striking Pompeiian facsimile. Now the Museo Pignatelli, its aristocratic hoard includes sumptuous furniture and decorative arts, as well as a beautiful collection of 19th- and 20th-century carriages in the adjoining Museo delle Carrozze.
Bought and extended by the Rothschilds in 1841, Villa Pignatelli became home to the Duke of Monteleone, Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortés, in 1867, before his granddaughter Rosina Pignatelli donated it (and its treasures) to the state. Permanent-collection highlights include a small yet fine array of local and foreign porcelain in the Salotto Verde (Green Room), and a leather-lined smoking room (known as the Biblioteca). The 1st floor – whose bathroom features a tub made from a single block of Carrara marble – also hosts regular temporary exhibitions, mostly photographic.