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in Art & Culture

Unesco World Heritage Sites: The Royal Palace of Caserta and its park, recognized among the most beautiful in the world

An enormous palace with continuous succession of scenic views, rows of trees, half hidden caves, waterfalls and cascades, lakes, enchanting sculptures and water games.

Vista lungo l'asse centrale del parco - View along the central axis of the park

Already from the front door of the Palace, taking the central corridor that leads to the fountain at the park, you are caught by an unforgettable experience: gardens, lakes, forests inhabited by mythological sculptures and refined water games as the eye can see.

An up and down of glimpses and surprises winds over a length of 3 km in  and an area of 120 hectares with Lebanon cedars, pines, cypresses, magnolias, palms, cactusess. Lakes on which small temples are reflected, allegorical statues, aquatic plants and sculptures depicting fake collapses and Roman niches; and again groves of oaks and hornbeams, arranged symmetrically to forme a  semicircolare green scene.

It was Charles of Bourbon who entrusted, in mid-1700, its architect Luigi Vanvitelli (son of the most important painter of views, Gaspar Van Wittel), the task of building the Royal Palace as the ideal center of the new kingdom of Naples. The Royal Palace of Caserta was destined to compete with other European royal residences. To complete the execution of this grand royal residence, it was the son of Vanvitelli, Carlo.

The sumptuous palace is a great and original blend of two other royal residences: the Royal Palace of Versailles of the king of France and the Madrid Escorial Palace, seat of the kings of Spain.
The Reggia di Caserta is monumental whole that occupies 45,000 square meters and, with its five storeys rise to a height of 36 m. On the main façade there are 143 windows and in the building there are 1,200 rooms and 34 staircases.

Extremely taken care of in the details, and declined on four monumental courtyards, the building is fronted by an exceptionally scenic park.

The formal garden, as it is today, it is only part of  what Luigi Vanvitelli presented to the sovereigns which was inspired by the gardens of the great European residences of the time, blending the tradition of the Italian Renaissance garden with the solutions introduced by André Le Nôtre at Versailles.

One of the first wonders that visitors, leaving behind the palace, encountered along their way is the so-called "vecchio boschetto" (old wood), the initial part of the "Italian garden". Here there is a sort of miniature castle surrounded by a moat fed by a small canal that joins the "Peschiera Vecchia", an artificial lake with an island in the center, built in 1769 by Ferdinand IV to dabble with small naval battles.

The "Old Fishpond" you reach the Margherita Fountain, which closes the Italian garden and opens the path to the French garden with the first of three large tanks longitudinalli laid: the Peschiera Grande, a reservoir nearly half a kilometer long which ends with a sculptural complex of three large dolphins from whose mouths gushes water.

A little further there is the Fountain of Aeolus, with its semicircular porch, followed by the Fountain of Ceres and by the amazing fountain of Venus.

Finally one reaches the wide staircase leading to the tank containing the two magnificent sculptures of Diana and Actaeon. From here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the English Garden, the last part to be made, at the end of '700 at the will of Maria Carolina of Austria, by the German-English botanist John Andrew Graefer; he, botanist, nurseryman and architect of gardens, managed to harmonize with the strict geometry of the park, a piece of romantic and naturalistic garden that houses large greenhouses, with indigenous and exotic plants, including the Camelia imported for the first time in Europe from Japan in 1880.