Royal Palace of Caserta

Royal Palace of Caserta and its park, inserted as one of the 50 Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997

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Royal Palace of Caserta  is a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples..

Royal Palace of Caserta.. and its park, inserted as one of the 50 Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997,described in its nomination as “the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque, from which it adopted all the features needed to create the illusions of multidirectional space”.

Royal Palace of Caserta

Royal Palace of Caserta

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 Bed and Breakfast Il Fauno is only 45 minutes from the Royal Palace of Caserta, within easy reach by car or by the Circumvesuviana train (only 500 meters from the B & B).

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 Royal Palace of Caserta

Royal Palace of Caserta

In 1750 Charles of Bourbon (1716-1788) decided to build the Royal Palace as  ideal  center  of  new Kingdom of Naples, by that time autonomus and released from spanish aegis. The choice of the place where it would rise the new administrative capital of the kingdom  fell on the lowlend of Terra di Lavoro, in the place dominated by the sixteenth century Acquaviva palace. The project for the imposing building, destined to compete with others European royal resideneces, was given, after various events, to architect Luigi Vanvitelli (1700-1773), son of the most important landscape painter, Gasper Van Wittel, formerly active in Rome under Benedetto XIV in dom of S.Pietro restoration.
 The Royal Palace building began with the laying of the foundation stone in 20 jenuary of 1752 and it proceeded briskly until 1759 year in which, dead the King of Spain, left the kingdom of  Naples  to reach Madrid. After Carlo’s departure the new Palace construction works, as at time was colled the Royal Palace, suffered a considerable slowdown, so at the death of Luigi Vanvitelli in 1773, they were far from being completed. Carlo Vanvitelli, and afterwards other architects, trained at the Vanvitelli school, carried out in the next century this great royal residence.
The Royal Palace of Caserta has a rectangular  plan articulated  on building overlooking four large courtyards and it covers an area of approximately  47.000 square meters for a height of 5 floors equal to 36 meters. An imposing portico (optical telescope) is the ideal connection between the park and the waterfall, located scenically at the height of the vanishing point thus created.
The staircase of honor, eighteenth-century invention of the art scene connects the lower and the upper hallway, from which leads  to the royal apartments. The rooms used by the royal family were made several times during a whole century, in a style that reflects the so called   « internal units»  feature of architectural design and decorative of eighteenth-century and partly according to nineteenth-century taste for composite furnishing  and the tiny objects.
On the upper vestibule, in front of the compartment of the main staircase, opens the Palatine Chapel, designed by Vanvitelli even in decorations, it’s certainly the room more than any other  shows a clear analogy with the model of  Versailles. The Court theatre, located on the western  side of the palace, is a wonderful examble of  eighteenth-century theater architecture.
The traditional visit to the Royal Palace of Caserta has been enriched by recent inedited routes that offer to the visitors the chance to choose how, the times and the issues more in keeping with their interests  and cultural curiosities.
 
Route A includes a visit to the historic apartment, and, immediately after the Nativity, is  completed with a visit to the art gallery, wich is spread over to wings completely reorganized and the Palatine Chapel.
Route B runs through the «picture gallery, new paintings from deposits», held on the ground floor of the second courtyard.
Route C provides the opportunity to visit, on reservation, the elliptical vault cover  of the staircase of honor, and the spaces  of corresponding attics. The visitors can access it directly from the upper vestibule, through the stairway located to the right of the historic apartment entrance.

The Royal Park is part of the project preseanted by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli to sovereign, it is inspired by the gardens of the great european residences of the time and it merging the tradition of the italian renaissance garden with solutions introduced by André Le Notre in Versailles. The work with the delimitation of the area and planting of first plants, began in 1753, together the ones for the construction of the aqueduct Carolino whose waters  from the slopesof mount Taburno would feed the fountains of the royal gardens.

The formal garden, as it is this day, it is only a part of the realization planned by Luigi Vanvitelli, in fact his death in 1773 the acqueduct was finished but no fountain was made still. The work was completed by his son Carlo (1740-1821), who, while simplifying his father design, was a true filmmaker, retaining the compositional rhythm of the alternation of fountains, ponds, meadows, and waterfalls.

For those who leave the palace the gardens present themselves divided in two parts: The first one consists of a large parterre  separated by a central avenue leading up to the fountain Margherita, flanked by groves of oak and hornbeam, arranged symmetrically to form a semicircular green “theatrical” scene.

To the left of building, in the so-called “Old Wood”, whose name recalls the existence of a previous renaissance garden, there is the Castelluccia a construction that simulates a miniature castle, from which the young Ferdinando IV practiced in mock ground battles. In Peschiera grande an artificicial lake elliptical in shape with a small island in the middle, were it fought naval battales with a flotillia constructed just for this purpose.

The secon part of the park, made entirely by Carlo Vanvitelli, starts from the fountain Margherita, from which unfolds the famous waterways, on which from the south to the north lies  the fountain of “Delfini”, so-called because the water comes out from the mouths of three large marine monsters carved in the stone and the fountain of “Eolo”, formed by a large exedra in which there are numerous caves that simulate the home of the winds, represented by statues of “zephire”. The main axis is structured in seven sloping tanks forming as many waterfalls concluded with the fountain of Cerce that represents the fecundity of Sicily, with the statues of the goddes and the two rivers of the island. The last fountain is one in which is represented the story of Venus and Adonis.

Finally, in the basin, called Diana’s Bath, below the waterfall of mount Briano, two major marmoreal blocks depicting Actaeon when, transformed into a deer, is going to be devoured by his own dogs, and Diana surrounded by nymphs, while leaves the waters. An artificial grotto, built with large blocks of tufa, the so-called Torrione, stands on the top of the waterfall, where you can enjoy the view of a unique landscape

On the side of the fountain of Diana, from 1785, at the behest of Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand IV, Carlo Vanvitelli and the english gardener John Andrew Graefer realized the first Italian garden landscape.

On a surface of 24 hectares were carried out, in a short time, important works to create hills, meadows, lakes and canals fed by the waters of Carolino and enriched by new plants from all over the known world. Following the manner that from England was spreading across Europe, were built many Fabriques useful to stop and the real fun but also orangeries and greenhouses for the admission of botanical specimens and study and reproduction of plants.
Of all the environment more beautiful and full of picturesque views is the Bath of Venus, so called for the presence of a statue in Carrara marble, the work of Tommaso Solari, depicting the goddess in the act of leaving the water of a small lake, surrounded by a forest of laurels, oaks and monumental specimens of Taxus baccata. Within a rocky mantle, where there was an ancient pozzolana quarry, in the thick vegetation, lies the Criptoportico, a semicircular cave with a vault covered by lacunar and embellished with columns, pilasters and classical statues from the Farnese Collection in the that suggest the ruins of a portico of an ancient temple. Striking are the fake ruins of a Doric Temple and the Temple circular, which rises unexpectedly in the woods called “Labyrinth”, work of Carlo Vanvitelli. Not far from the old greenhouses is the English Mansion , edificatata between 1790 and 1794 and intended to house the gardener Graefer. Not to be forgotten  the Aperia with a semicircular plant, originally used by Vanvitelli as a water tank and later for beekeeping, and in 1826 it became a greenhouse,  recently used as open-air theater.
Born as a walk through the botanical rarities the “english”  garden became a veritable botanical garden where they were visible exceptional examples of Cinnamomum camphora, Taxus baccata, Cedrus libani, what is passed is the first plant Camellia Camellia japonica arrived in Europe and intended for the garden by Maria Carolina.
During the nineteenth century under the leadership of distinguished botanists Gussone and Terracciano, who strengthened activity study and the reproduction of botanical specimens, the garden was called the Royal Botanical Gardens of Caserta.
And it is the coexistence and fusion of natural scenes of great beauty, sculpture groups combined with exotic trees of great scientific interest, functional architectures and environments for the preservation and reproduction of plants, which carries the meaning and charm of the garden complex, still perceptible by anyone who frequent the winding paths or dwell in contemplation of a stream or a fake ruin.

tickets

full price
€ 9.00

Apartment
(can only be bought at times when the Park is closed)

Apartment and park
_full price: € 12.00

_concession with >artecard: € 6.00
_free: EU citizens under 18 and over 65

Park
_full price: € 3.00

reduced
€ 4.50

Apartment
(can only be bought at times when the Park is closed)
EU citizens aged 18 – under 25

Apartment and park
_concession: € 6.00 EU citizens aged 18 – under 25

Park
_concession: € 1.50 EU citizens aged 18 – under 25

concession with >artecard
€ 4.50

Entry to 5 sites on the Caserta and Antica Capua (Reggia di Caserta, Museo Archeologico dell’Antica Capua, Museo dei Gladiatori, Anfiteatro Campano, Mitreo) counts as a single admission with >artecard

free

Apartment
EU citizens aged under 18 and over 65

Apartment and park
EU citizens under 18 and over 65

Park
EU citizens aged under 18 and over 65

Opening Hours

Apartments

Open every days

Last admission 30 minutes before closing time

Park

open from 8.30 to one hour before the last park admission:

_January / February / November December: park closes 14.30

_March: park closes 16.00

_April: park closes 17.00

_June / July / August: park closes 18.00

_October: park closes 16.30

The English Garden closes one hour before the park closes

closed : Tuesday
 +39 0823 448084


 
The imposing arcade (an ‘optical spyglass’) that provides an imaginary link between the park and the cascade, which is spectacularly positioned at the end of the vista.
A tour of the Royal Palace provides an opportunity to see decorations, furniture, precious fabrics and paintings in the historic apartments.
In the backrooms of the Nineteenth- Century Apartment, the exhibition ‘Cose mai viste’ displays a selection of outstanding artefacts from the Bourbon collections: two highlyprized mechanical cylinder organs, the costly cradles of the Savoy Princes and wooden models of the carousels commissioned for the park adjacent to Villa “La Favorita”. On the ground floor, in the second courtyard, the recently opened Picture Galleryexhibits paintings from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century commissioned by the Sovereigns or of local provenance; these are grouped by subject.
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