The Sea Park of
Villa Favorita


The Sea Park
of Villa Favorita

T he imposing building, the work of Ferdinand Fuga, named the "Favorita" by King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon in homage to Queen Mary Caroline of Austria, has a rather unusual planimetric system that deviates from the recurring patterns typical of 18th-century villas of the Golden Mile. The facade, which develops along the Via Regia delle Calabrie, does not have, in fact, along the central axis openings that allow direct communication from the road to the park. The two entrances to the courtyards are symmetrical, placed sideways and the central body expands towards a direction placed in axis with the sea, ending on the mezzanine floor, with a terrace placed on top of a semi-circular staircase. The connecting stairs between the floors are placed at the ends of the wings. The large area of the park of the "Villa Favorita" rich in Mediterranean and exotic essences quite rare, interrupted in its continuity by the railway line and a roadway, ends towards the sea with the Bourbon landing. Used improperly for a long time, the area of the park overlooking the sea has returned to its former glory thanks to the intervention of the Ente Ville Vesuviane, now foundation. The lively interweaving of tree-lined boulevards, slurs leads to the carousel and a chapel that adorn the park telling the story of one of the villa's heyday: the property of the Prince of Salerno Leopold of Bourbon, from 1823 it was opened to the public, enriched with rides and gymnasiums fashionable German, monumental buildings so-called "Farmhouses", "Chapel", "Laundry". Leopold Prince of Salerno, son of Ferdinand IV, built games that on the festive days opened to his subjects: carousel orchestras,

bands and rides in the shape of a horse, of boat. Today we are left with the Mosaic Palace, a fishmonger and the remains of some rides. The Casina was probably purchased as a result of the bequest to the royal family although it is already depicted in the engraving of Francis Safe of 1777 dedicated to the Prince of Jaci. Surely it was modified in its plant and in the decoration of the gaming room, made unique by the use of materials, such as the mother of pearl to the porcelain shards, which make up suggestive mosaics put in place, by the king's will, thanks to the experience of the masters probably trained at the Real Hard Stones workshop in Capodimonte. From the view you have the opportunity to admire from the back of the "Casina dei Mosaici" and among the most evocative of the Gulf of Naples. The pier, a historic Bourbon landing, allowed the Royal Family to reach the Herculaneum site directly by sea. It is here that Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, chose to land when in 1802 he returned from Palermo where he had taken refuge following the revolutionary motions of 1799. The Old Bourbon Landing, and the Coffee House building, consisting of two turrets that flank the sea descent according to the use of the time, are still visible, but the relationship between the shoreline and the entire garden was completely altered by the construction of the 1839 railway. The "Russian Mountains" are actually the most beautiful coffee house in the park. Added in 1854, it looks like a small open-air theater enriched with a fishmonger and a fountain. During the year they were staged on occasions of games open to the public, slides with wooden walkways, hence the attribution of the name "Russian Mountains".