The Royal Palace of Portici
(Reggia di Portici or Palazzo Reale di Portici) is a former royal palace in Portici, southern Italy
. Today it is the home of the Orto Botanico di Portici. The Botanic Gardens are operated by the University of Naples
Federico II. They were once part of a big estate that included an English garden, a zoo and formal parterres.
The entrance presents a spacious and majestic façade terraced and equipped with balustrades; the center of the palace is a large quadrangle of which there are two gateways which allowed traffic to pass through; this thoroughfare was once called the Strada delle Calabrie or Road of Calabria
. It is today called the via Università. The palace has two large parks: on the West overlooking the Gulf of Naples
, and on the East looking towards Mount Vesuvius
The Palace's park, called the Giardino della Regina, originally extended from Pugliano towards Vesuvius down to Granatello, towards the sea. It was divided into two parks, the lower having spacious avenues surrounding English gardens. It held works of art including the Fountain of the Sirens (Fontana delle Sirene), the Kiosk of King Carlo (Chiosco di Re Carlo) the Fountain of the Swans (Fontana dei Cigni), and an amphitheatre.
In the upper park was Charles's private zoo with kangaroos, an elephant, two lions, two panthers, four antelopes, an African lioness, a puma, two American tapirs and a porcupine. This novelty was kept by King Ferdinand who maintained that it was to remain on show to foreign dignitaries.