In the 18th eeuw, under the Bourbon-reign, Caserta was destined to become
the new capital of Southern Italië. Naples was too vulnerable for attacks from the sea.
Caserta, at a safe distance from Naples, would provide more security for the Spanish rulers.
The big example for Caserta was Versailles. The palace was designed by Luigi Vanitelli and has to be at least as big as Versailles. The first stone was laid in 1752, but the construction was only completed long after the death of king Charles III and of the architect Vanitelli. But with 1200 rooms and halls, is was significantly bigger than Versailles.
Also the gardens were inspired by Versailles. There are 3 parts. A flower garden close to the palace, which became eventually a lawn, geometrically divided by Vlakbij het paleis moest er een bloementuin komen, maar dit werd uiteindelijk een grasveld, geometrisch divide by wide white avenues. This section also includes the forest, a pond and a 'play' residence. A second part of the garden is the channel, about two kilometers long, bridging the height in various steps. The third part of the garden includes a waterfall and the English garden. For those who wish, there is a train to the upper part (1 EUR). For more romance, you can also make a tour by horse-drawn carriage.
In the immediate vicinity of Caserta, San Leucio is probably worth a visit. This town was the center of the silk industry and was actually result of a social project that was started by Charles III and Ferdinand IV (or his advisors) to be an an utopian project of social justice.
Caserta is certainly worth a full day visit. So take your time !
Be aware : closed on tuesday
(click on the right mouse button and choose 'open' for a larger map)