Similar to the Palace of Versailles in France and the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Italians also have a large and magnificent palace. The Palace of Caserta has been considered for many years a source of Italian pride and course a leading tourist destination.
It is located north of the city of Naples and has been considered, since 1997, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fact is not surprising, given the fact that it is a sophisticated and beautiful complex, with a huge area, which includes pastoral gardens, pools, fountains, waterfalls, a developed system of water canals (Aqueduct), and of course a luxurious castle with many rooms.
Looking from a distance from the outside, you can witness the spectacular telescope effect created by the buildings, which are all arranged in a perfect composition, one after the other.
A bit of history
The palace was built according to the heart’s desire of the then King of Naples, Charles III. It was designed by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli, one of the great artists of the 18th century. Construction began in 1752, with the main goal being to surpass the beauty of the kingdom rivaling Versailles.
According to many, it was indeed achieved. Unfortunately, Charles III did not get to enjoy the complex and did not get to live in it, but construction continued for his son, the heir to the throne Ferdinand V.
The construction was finished almost thirty years later, in 1780. The extension was under the direction of Venvitelli Jr. after Venvitelli Sr. also did not get to finish the task he started.
The palace contains no less than 1,200 rooms, in addition to a large royal theater and more than 12 private apartments. The castle building is designed in the shape of a two-story rectangle and has four courtyards around it. Also, around the castle, there are several buildings, matching in the design of course. Some of them were used by the American army in World War II.
Apart from luxury and breathtaking beauty, the Palace of Caserta was of great importance to the country. Several major public buildings were built there: the government residence, a university, a theater, and a library.
What to see
The first thing you will see when you arrive is the spectacular botanical gardens that surround the building. The gardens are called by many “The English Gardens”, due to a similar equivalent that exists in Great Britain. The green gardens are spread over a very large area and even slide into the surrounding hills.
In the center of the garden, proudly stands a flowing and magnificent waterfall. The entire length of the waterfall is accompanied by sculptures, designed by the great Italian artists of the period, and elegant water fountains.
It is not for nothing that the garden of Caserta is considered one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Even more than the equivalents in the French palace.
The interior space of the palace is designed in an incredibly elegant way, in the Baroque style. It is not difficult to notice the careful design of every detail inside the building. The walls decorated with gold decorations, the high ceilings, and the rare art objects that are embedded everywhere, amaze every visitor who enters the place.
The experience of visiting the palace of Caserta is like being a part of a living legend, the view seems to be unreal. The kingdom is so impressive that it had to appear on the cinema screens, you can even watch it in contemporary Hollywood movies like Mission Impossible and Star Wars.
How to get there
Caserta Palace is located 38 kilometers from Naples and 200 kilometers from Rome. The arrival from both cities is easy and very accessible.
- Arrival from Naples – You can get there by train that leaves from the city’s central station, every 20 minutes. Another option is dedicated buses that leave every hour from the city’s airport (Naples International Airport) or the city’s main port.
- Arrival from Rome – you can get there by fast train, which leaves every 30 minutes from Rome Termini station. A bus to the palace also leaves from the same station, every 30 minutes. Another option is a bus that leaves every two hours from the city’s airport (Roma Fiumicino International Airport).
When to visit
It is recommended to devote a whole day to visit the Caserta Palace. The most recommended time to visit is in the summer and spring when the gardens are especially spectacular. The palace is open to visitors every day of the week except Tuesday.
The theater is only open on weekends. The site is closed to visitors on national holidays – January 1, May 1, and December 25. Every first Sunday of the month the entrance is free, but therefore the place becomes much more massive.
To fully experience the experience, you should consider joining a guided tour of the place, which also allows a visit to hidden corners of the park and extensive explanations that will reveal the palace’s secrets to you.
The place also offers bicycle rental for riding in the garden plaza or riding a horse-drawn carriage, a nice option for those who want to add a fun activity for the whole family to the tour.