The Palace of Caserta is a spectacular palace that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naples Italy. It is located approximately fifteen miles north of Naples and can be reached on the A1 autostrada by car. It can also be reached by bus and train from Naples. Construction of the Reggia di Caserta began in 1752 and was commissioned by Charles VII of Naples. Although he was awestruck when he first saw the plans of his architect, Luigi Vanvitelli, it is interesting that Charles VII never spent one single night in the palace, as he abdicated to become King of Spain in 1759. The Palace was completed and ultimately occupied by his successor and son, Ferdinand IV.
UNESCO points to the spectacular Baroque conventions employed to create the palace as reason to qualify it as a heritage site. It is compared to the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Palace of Versailles (from which much of the inspiration for the palace was drawn), in describing its exceptional incorporation of palace, park, and natural landscape. If you are planning to take a trip to Naples, you should certainly consider placing the Palace of Caserta near the top of your list of attractions to see in the city.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naples Italy comprises far more than just the Reggia di Caserta. The palace itself is certainly the highlight of the entire complex, but the acres of spectacular gardens, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex are also important aspects of the destination. The aqueduct is impressive in and of itself. The palace was so large, replicating a small city that needed to accommodate a full court, administrative functions, the royal residences, and much more, that an aqueduct was required to satisfy the needs.
The park and gardens are of special interest here, too. Although the design was inspired by the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, the gardens here are widely considered to be far superior. The park begins at the back façade of the Palace of Caserta and extends for acres of hilly terrain and carefully manicured gardens, filled with fountains, cascades, and English gardens. The Fountain of Diana and Actaeon and the Fountain of Venus and Adonis are two attractions of special interest that you should be sure to check out as you explore the fascinating and breathtaking grounds around this Bourbon royal Residence.
The San Leucio Complex is a small resort area that was built to veil the large silk factory within a mile and a half of the fantastic palace. Today, you can walk through this village, which is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naples Italy, and enjoy the quaint shopping boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Some of the main attractions you are going to want to see in conjunction with the Reggia di Caserta itself are the Stairway of Honor, the Historic Apartments, the Picture Gallery, the Palatina Library, the Court Theatre, and the Opera Museum. The sheer size and scope of the palace, coupled with the unbridled beauty and elegance of the parks and gardens, make this one of the most alluring and popular destinations in all of Naples. If you only have a few days for sightseeing, prioritize seeing this spectacular Baroque castle.
It is a very modest fee to get in and there are discounts for kids, seniors, and large groups. You can also take guided tours. Operating hours for the Royal Apartments are 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the hours for the gardens fluctuate throughout the seasons.