Itinerary: Caserta, Reggia of Caserta
Caserta, and the imposing Baroque-style Reggia of Caserta
Caserta is located at the foot of Mount Tifata in the region of Campania, 30 kilometers north of Naples and less than an hour away from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The first settlements date back to the Roman age, but the modern city was founded in the eighteenth century. Today, Caserta is above all a thriving agricultural center, thanks to its proximity to Laburia (Terra di Lavoro in Italian), a very fertile region.
When in Caserta, first of all, you should visit the imposing Baroque-style Reggia of Caserta (Royal Palace) (pic n°1). It was built by Charles of Bourbon, King of Naples, as the royal residence of the Bourbon Kings. The construction began in 1780 by architect Luigi Vanvitelli, who had taken inspiration from the Palace of Versailles (France) and was completed in 1845. It is considered the main Baroque-style building in Italy, and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Featuring a huge park, four courtyards, five floors and 1,200 rooms (with over 1,900 windows!), the Reggia is the largest royal residence in the world.
In its beautiful interiors, you can admire wonderful halls and rooms, preserving many paintings and pieces of furniture in Rococo and Neoclassical style. Do not miss the magnificent Throne Hall (pic n°2), Cappella Palatina, Appartamento Vecchio, the library and the Art Gallery with many paintings from Italian and Dutch artists. The basements are home to Museo dell'Opera and to the ancient Theater.
When outside, take your time and visit the wonderful, 120-hectare park (pic n°3), where you will find colorful flowers, avenues, waterfalls, statues, and fountains with mythological characters. Visit the English Garden, designed at the request of Maria Carolina of Austria, home to many species of exotic plants and flowers. Here, you can also visit Castelluccio, a square tower that was built as a place for the royal children to play.
Read more on the official site: Reggia of Caserta
After visiting the Reggia of Caserta move towards Piazza Carlo III
before heading to the main Cathedral
of the city, dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo
(pic n°4) which was completed in the nineteenth century. Located at the end of a staircase, it has three naves and some frescoes and altars, as well as some beautiful sixteenth-century paintings.
Although the city has got a modern urban structure, you can still visit some nice, old streets and squares, such as Piazza Dante, Piazza del Mercato, and Piazza Vanvitelli, as well as some statues and museums. Also, the Museum of Contemporary Art could be the right choice.
The ancient fortified village of Casertavecchia (Ancient Caserta) (pic n°4) is located about 10 kilometers north-east of Caserta and 400 meters above sea level. In Medieval times, this picturesque village was the center of Caserta. Today it still preserves its ancient urban structure and some interesting attractions, such as the twelfth-century Church of San Michele Arcangelo, Church of Annunziata and the castle with a tower, dating back to the tenth century. From here, you can enjoy amazing views over Caserta and beyond.
Also, not far from Casertavecchia you can visit Eremo of San Vitaliano (pic n°6), a Medieval, austere style complex built in the twelfth century that consists of several chapels and the main church.
Some pictures of Caserta:
Reggia of Caserta, Royal Palace (pic n°1); Throne Hall, Royal Palace (pic n°2); Park, Reggia of Caserta, Royal Palace (pic n°3); Cathedral San Michele Arcangelo (pic n°4); Casertavecchia (Ancient Caserta) (pic n°5); Eremo of San Vitaliano (pic n°6);