Palazzo d’Avalos is an imposing fortress on Procida, overlooking the sea, part of Terra Murata, the fortified village on the highest point of the island.
The palace was designed by the architects Cavagna and Tortelli at the end of the 16th century, for the Cardinal Innico d’Avalos. At the same time, the entrance to the village of Terra Murata was built, from an order of the same Cardinal d’Avalos.
Since 1734, after the domination of the d’Avalos family ended, the palace was confiscated by the Bourbons, and became the royal hunting retreat for both King Charles III and King Ferdinand IV, before the construction of the Royal Palace of Capodimonte.
In 1815, the building changed its destination into a military academy. Later, in 1830, it was converted into a prison with two parts, an old one (Palazzo d’Avalos) and a new one, and the penitentiary functioned until the Italian unification.
Following the downfall of the Italian Social Republic, between 1945 and 1950, the prison held the fascism nomenclature. In 1978, the old prison was closed, and ten years later, in 1988, the new prison was also disbanded, the place remaining abandoned.
Today, Palazzo d’Avalos can be visited only by booking in advance. The complex consists of Palazzo d’Avalos, the courtyard, the guards’ barrack, the building of prison cells, the Veterans’ building, the Medical Center, the Director’s house and the rural estate known as Spianata, covering in total an area of about 18,000 square meters.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Marina Grande, the main port of the island, you could go on Via Roma, right on Via Vittorio Emanuele, left on Via Principe Umberto, which transforms, after Piazza dei Martiri, in Salita Castello, which leads to the palace. You should know, however, that a rather difficult climb is awaiting you up to the Palazzo d’Avalos.
If you want to get there by bus, take the route C2 from Marina Grande and get off 15 minutes later at the station Piazza delle Armi, inside Terra Murata.