Reggia, meaning royal palace or king’s court, and Reggia di Caserta north of Naples is just that, a true palace. It was constructed by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies as their main residence as kings of Naples. It is the largest palace erected in Europe during the 18th century and still the largest royal residence in the world, something you can imagine being true when you go on a visit.
The construction of the palace began in 1752 for Charles VII of Naples (Charles III of Spain) with Versailles as a model. In the end, he never slept a night at the Reggia, as he abdicated in 1759 to become King of Spain, and the project was carried on to partial completion for his third son and successor, Ferdinand IV of Naples (who married Archduchess Maria Carolina, daughter of Empress Maria Theresa from Austria)
The palace has 5 floors, 1,200 rooms, including two dozen state apartments, 1742 windows, 34 staircases, 1026 fireplaces, a large library, and a theatre totalling to over 1 million m³ and covering an area of 47,000 m².
One large room displays the nativity scene which the palace set up, adopting a tradition of Naples and taking it to a higher level in size and details.
The garden, a typical example of the baroque extension of formal vistas, stretches over 120 ha, partly on hilly terrain. The park starts from the back façade of the palace, flanking a long alley with artificial fountains and cascades. There is a botanical garden, called “The English Garden”, in the upper part, which you shouldn’t miss.
The most exquisite part of the English Garden is the “Bagno di Venere” – the bath of the Venus, a green oasis.
We were truly impressed by the palace, its size and beauty and the park leading up the hill. We were not aware, that there is such an impressive palace close to Naples, which stands up to the comparison with Versailles in France or Peterhof in Russia.
We were also impressed, that an underground parking in front of the palace is suitable for all kind of campers, making it easy to visit Reggia di Caserta for us.
We will continue along the coast again, trying to get to Rome and the Vatican before our Green Pass expires – more on our next post.