Palace of Caserta (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

March 25, 2016

The Royal Palace of Caserta (Italian: Reggia di Caserta is a former royal residence in Caserta, constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples.

Main Facade of the Palace

It was the largest palace and one of the largest buildings erected in Europe during the 18th century. In 1997, the palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In terms of volume, the Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest royal residence in the world with over 2 million m³ and covering an area of about 235,000 m².

The garden, a typical example of the baroque extension of formal vistas, stretches for 120 ha, with a length of 3.3 km partly on hilly terrain.

The Fountain of the Dolphins (1773-80)

It is also inspired by the park of Versailles. The park starts from the back façade of the palace, flanking a long alley with artificial fountains and cascades.

The Aeolus Fountain

The Aeolus Fountain, is the most spectacular and monumental of all the Palace's fountains

The Aeolus Fountain

It depicts the mythological episode from Virgil's Aeneid, in which Aeolus, god of the winds, spurred on by Hera, unleashes the fury of the winds against Aenes and the Trojans, driving them out to sea away from the Italian coast.

The fountains and cascades, each filling a vasca ("basin"), with architecture and hydraulics by Luigi Vanvitelli at intervals along a wide straight canal that runs to the horizon, rivalled those at Peterhof outside St. Petersburg.

The park is a typical exemplar of the Italian garden, landscaped with vast fields, flower beds and, above all, a triumph of "water games" or dancing fountains.

The Fountain of Venus and Adonis (1780)

The theme of this fountain is the hapless love of Venus and Adonis. The statues are sculpted in white Carrara marble. Travertine was used for the rocks.

The Fountain of Diana And Actaeon

The right side of the fountain leads to the English Garden, the first example of informal garden in Italy.

The English Garden

lt was desired by the queen Maria Carolina, wife to Ferdinand IV, and sister of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

False Roman Ruins

This garden has exotic plants and trees clustering round the little lake and the created false ‘Roman ruins’.

It was in fact in this garden that the first camellia imported from Japan was planted in 1880.

Grand Staircase of Honour

The palace has 5 floors, 1,200 rooms, including two dozen state apartments, a large library, and a theatre modelled after the Teatro San Carlo of Naples.

The Royal Chapel

In April 1945 the palace was the site of the signing of terms of the unconditional German surrender of forces in Italy.

The agreement covered between 600,000 and 900,000 soldiers along the Italian Front, including troops in sections of Austria.

The Room of Alexander

The Room of the Throne, more than forty meters long and illuminated by six windows, has been completed only in 1845 and inaugurated on the occasion of the VII Congress of the Italian Scientists.

The Throne Room

The fresco of the vault, depicts the laying of the foundation stone of the palace on January 20, 1752.

The Bedroom of Francis II

The room presents a furniture in the empire style, in mahogany wood and gilt bronzes, constituted by the monumental four-posted bed, two night stands, two chests of drawers and a centre table, supported by three winged lions; all made between 1814 and 1822.

The pavilion vault is frescoed with an allegory of the victory of Napoleon's on the Bourbons: the Glory of Theseus slaying the Minotaur.

The Room of the Ladies-in-Waiting

At the centre of the vault there's The Kidnapping of Cephalus by Aurora on a cart drawn by putti (naked children).

Third Room of the Library

The Queen Mary Coline assigned to the German painter Friedrich Heinrich Fuger the decoration of the third Room of the Library.

All the wall present themes derived from the classical repertoire: The Parnassus with Apollo and the Three Graces, The Envy and the Richness, The School of Athens, the Protection of the Arts and the banishment of the Ignorance.

The Room of the Farnese's Fasti

The Pinacoteca’s (Painting Gallery's) interior is organized as a series of connected rooms that displays countless works of still lives, war scenes, and of course, portraits of the members of the Bourbon Dynasty.

The palace in 1997 it served as a filming location for Star Wars, used as the setting for Queen Amidala's royal palace on Naboo in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It featured again in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones as Queen Jamillia's palace.