The Reggia di Caserta, often referred to as the Italian Versailles, is an 18th century Baroque Royal Palace. The palace was listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1997.
The Royal Palace was the King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon’s, personal wish. He wanted the palace to compete with the already established Versailles. Charles also wanted it to act as a magnificent symbol of his new kingdom.
The Royal Palace and the gardens were designed by architect Luigi Vanvitelli and works began in 1752 on the king’s 36th birthday. Works stalled following the death of Luigi but his son Carlo eventually took over and completed the project.
The Palace was built on a rectangular plan with four large internal courtyards. Reggia di Caserta sits 36 metres in height, has five floors, 1,200 rooms, 34 staircases and 1,742 windows! The garden stretches out behind the palace for 3 kilometres and comprises 250 beautiful acres which along with the rest of the Royal Palace are open to the public all year round.
We decided to spend the entire day in Caserta. We began the morning by visiting inside the Palace before spending the rest of the day exploring the amazing gardens.
Following our self-guided audio tour, we made our way into the Palace through the Scalone d’Onore (the grand staircase) and the Apartments. We got to see some of the gold and marble rooms, including the Throne Room, and grand paintings of the Kingdom of Naples.
Before exiting to the garden we then entered the Library, which contains over 10,000 books and the Pinacoteca (the picture gallery).
We packed our own lunch to enjoy in the garden in the afternoon. Upon exiting the rear of the Palace you are greeted with the start of the gardens and the beginning of the 3 kilometres great waterfall (Grande Cascata).
A shuttle service allows you to reach the top of the waterfall every 10-15 minutes. Once at the top you’ll find large pic-nic areas for you to use and a small refreshment shop. Our tip is to pack your own lunch if you can!
At the top, you can really sense the beauty and magnificence of the entire site. From the stretches of water to the statues and Baroque fountains which run the length of the 3 kilometres all the way back down to the Palace.
Located next to the Grande Cascata you’ll find the ‘English Garden’, 25 hectares of majestic trees, rare plants and statues from Pompeii.
If you plan to stay with us, you’re in luck as its just a 50-minute drive from Villa Di Martino. There are numerous car parks located at the front of the palace.
Getting there by train is also easy as Caserta train station, accessed via regional trains operated by Trenitalia, is just a 5-minute walk from Reggia di Caserta. Regular trains run from Naples (roughly a 43-minute journey) and Salerno (roughly a 1-hour journey).
How much does it cost?
As we chose to spend most of the day there we purchased the ticket that covered everything. At €14 we thought it was good value for money as you get access to the Royal Apartments, Royal Park and the English Garden.
Other ticket options include Park Only for €9 which as the title suggests give you access to the Royal Park and English Garden only. Want to pop in for just a quick tour of the Apartments? You can do so for just €3 on arrival after 5pm.
You can view the full opening hours on the website here. The palace and gardens are usually open every day, except on Tuesdays, December 25th and January 1st
Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable day and the Palace and its gardens are definitely a must-see on your next trip to Campania. We were able to explore throughout at our own pace and leisure. It’s a great spot, value for money and a photographers dream.
You can visit the Reggia di Caserta website here.
Photos by Monica
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