In the district of Posillipo, within walking distance from Mergellina, the Donn’ Anna Palace, rises from the sea: it’s one of the most celebrated, for its spectacular position, tuff building of Naples.
For the history and legends that concern it, it’s also one of the most mysterious palaces of Naples. Inherited by Donn’ Anna Carafa, hence the name, wife of the Viceroy Ramino Nunez of Guzman, it was rebuilt in 1642 according to the canons of the Neapolitan baroque and it hosts a spectacular theater overlooking the sea. The Donn’ Anna Palace was never finished and took the fascinating aspect of an ancient ruin. Today it is home for private residences and is not open to the public. It is the source of many dark popular legends regarding the beautiful and powerful Donn’ Anna and her many lovers. These were mostly young fishermen of the area, who, after a night of passion with the noblewoman, were killed the following morning. According to other legends the lovers instead left the building thanks to rowing-boats moored at the entrance of the Palace. It is said that the souls of these unfortunate people are still wailing in the underground rooms. The writer Matilde Serao said that the noblewoman organized opulent parties to which the Spanish and Neapolitan nobility participated, during which plays and dances were staged. One of these evenings among the actors were also the beautiful niece of Donn’ Anna, Donna Mercedes de las Torres and Anna’s lover, Gaetano di Casapesenna. They played with such a passion that in the end their kiss was very applauded. Donn’ Anna, devoured by jealousy, had a strong quarrel with the young girl, who soon after disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The young man, after years of vain searching for her, died in a battle, won by grief. Legend has it that the souls of the two young people, as well as that of Donn’ Anna, still live in the palace.
Today Donn’ Anna Palace an historic residence of Naples continues to be one of the favorite subjects by artists for pictorial posillipini views.