Past Italia: La Villa Donn’Anna

This historic but dilapidated residence sits on the Posillipo coast in Naples, west of the Mergellina harbour, some way beyond the Castel dell’Ovo…

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Palazzo Donn'Anna, Italy

The Villa Donn’Anna takes its name from Anna Carafa, the wife of a Spanish viceroy of Naples who inherited the property in 1630 and had it rebuilt to her tastes in the 1640s. By the 19th century it had fallen into the state of dereliction we find it in today, but its history before Donn’Anna is the interesting bit. The original building here, on what was then called the Rocks of the Sirens, had been owned in the 14th century by Queen Joanna I of Naples, and then by her successor, Joanna II. The unsubstantiated rumours of sex orgies, murder and other unsavoury shenanigans that date to this time have been imputed to both women.

We’ve got more bite-size tales of Italy’s past here