The 18th century Royal Palace or Reggia di Caserta is Italy’s most magnificent Palace and one of Europe’s grandest Royal residences and its immense park garden is one of the most dazzling in Europe.
The Palace or Palazzo Reale was built at the behest of Charles III of Bourbon (who never ended up living there). Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, southern Italy’s greatest architect, the construction of the Palace began in 1752 and completed in 1774.
Palace and garden were to be the pride of the Bourbon monarchy and be so beautiful as to rival and even overshadow Versailles in France.
The lavish and vast Baroque Palace comprises five storeys, 43 staircases, 1,790 windows and 1,200 rooms all arranged around four courtyards.
The immense avenue is flanked by hornbeam hedges and lined by narrow lawns and punctuated by stepped cascades, ponds, groups of statues and fountains with mythological themes. The avenue finally ends up at the base of the great cascade, a waterfall some 75 metres high which tumbles into the basin of Diana and Actaeon.
There is also a Botanical Garden known as the English Garden. The garden was the first of its type on the European mainland and is in the naturalistic style similar to those created by the famous English Landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
Caserta is located 40 km north of Naples in the Southern Italian region of Campania. I have made the trip many times via train from Rome. The station is opposite the Palace.
The Palace complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.