Built by the Brancaccio family, the important Palazzo Filomarino della Rocca in Naples dates back to the Angevin age, as evidenced by the pointed arches along the walls of the staircase. In the first decades of the sixteenth century, the Sanseverino family of Bisignano rebuilt the palace and created the large porticoed courtyard designed by Giovan Francesco di Palma.
After the Masaniello revolt in 1647, due to a heated clash between the refugees in the building and the Spanish soldiers who attacked the second floor with cannon fire, a new intervention was necessary due to the damage suffered. A final renovation by the architect Ferdinando Sanfelice (1675-1748), creator of many embellishments of eighteenth-century Naples, gave the palace its current appearance. A characteristic element of the building is the portal, with the unmistakable smooth ashlar and diamond-pointed pilasters. The portal ends with an imaginative broken tympanum closed by singular volutes that hold a decorative keystone in the centre. Many buildings on this street are characterized by their portals, curiously majestic, but almost invisible in the narrow, crowded streets of the ancient centre.
Today the building is home to the Italian Institute for Historical Studies, founded in 1946 by Benedetto Croce (in the same rooms as his private home), and the Benedetto Croce Library Foundation which still retains the philosopher’s study and library rooms intact.