Near the massive structure of Castel Capuano walking along the distinctively characteristic and tumultuous via dei Tribunali toward the Duomo in the historical center of Naples, visitors will immediately be struck by a 16th century building with its large portal on their left at number 213.
Its name is Palazzo Ricca, the location of the Banco di Napoli Foundation with its Historical Archive. The building has over 300 rooms spread across four floors, where there are documents relating to the management of the interest-bearing assets, associated book-keeping and documents of a non-accounting nature (scritture patrimoniali) and documents concerning customers’ deposits (scritture apodissarie) and the issue of credit documents (bancali) from the Neapolitan public banks. In each room, on the top shelves there are the volumes of credit documents; below them are the payment order copybooks, the client registers, and while the general ledgers are on the bottom shelves. Each room takes the name of the bank which originally created and housed the documents.
The rooms of the Palazzo, originally the location of the Monte e Banco dei Poveri, were decorated with frescoes by talented masters from the 18th century. Still today, one room contains the wooden furniture used from the 16th to 19th centuries, while on the second floor there are original 18th century frescoes. In addition, in the courtyard there is a magnificent chapel designed by G. Caracciolo.
To complete the altar, the sculptor Giovanni Mozzetti was called in 1672. A payment order found in the archives shows that Dionisio Lazzari designed and built the decorative balustrades and the cornice in marble from Palermo and Trapani, and Antonio Picci created the small balustrade around the presbytery using yellow and antique green marble, which was also used in the floors. In 1673, Luca Giordano painted a fresco of a lamia and a picture on the main altar. Just over 10 years later, Francesco Solimena painted two pictures showing the Annunciation and the Nativity. In addition, following the restoration work done in 1971, ancient greek walls and a flooring from the late Roman period were found, which are visible in a display case in the courtyard of the building.
The distribution of the written documents was arranged chronologically in each room, while keeping in mind the physical weight and dimensions of the documents burdening the structures. The secondary steps of the Palazzo which lead to the various floors are the work of the Neapolitan architect and nobleman Ferdinando Sanfelice who built them between 1734 and 1736.
In 1751, under the direction of the engineer Gaetano Buonocore, the hand-painted ceramic clock was placed in the courtyard. It is framed by two pilaster strips with a composite capital, from the architrave from the lower facade of the church and from the arched lines of the cornice framed in the center of the upper facade. The colors used for the handprinted ceramic tiles of the clock are in white, yellow and light blue.
Of the original 16th century construction, today only the arches of the stairway to the left of the courtyard remain, as the building was completely remodeled in the years between 1739 and 1773 and the facade was redone in 1772 according to the designs of Gaetano Barba, after damage caused by water damage from the Carmignano Canal. At the top of the portal there is a coat of arms of the Sacro Monte.