Royal Palace of Caserta

Friday, 2 June 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Editor04082022/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Editor04082022/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Royal Palace of Caserta (Italian: Reggia di Caserta) is a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, 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. In 1997, the palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site; its nomination described it as “the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque, from which it adopted all the features needed to create the illusions of multidirectional space”. The Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest former royal residence in the world, over 2 million in volume and covering an area of 47,000 . and a floorspace of 138,000 square meters in the distributed in the five storeys of the building.

The palace has five floors; 1,200 rooms, including two dozen state apartments; 1,742 windows; 34 staircases; 1026 fireplaces; a large library; and a theatre modelled after the Teatro San Carlo of Naples. A monumental avenue running 20 kilometers between the palace and Naples was planned but never realized. The palace has a rectangular plan, measuring 247 × 184 m, and the four sides are connected by two orthogonal arms, forming four inner courts. Even without the surface area of the internal courtyards, Caserta is by far the largest royal palace resulting from a single original project in the world in terms of volume, with more than 2 million cubic metres (70 million cubic feet). The floorspace is 138,000 square meters. Behind the façades of its matching segmental ranges of outbuildings that flank the giant forecourt, a jumble of buildings arose to facilitate daily business. The palace encloses four courts that feature what scholars describe as a well-proportioned interior that evokes a monotonous dignity unique in its time.

Of all the royal residences inspired by the Palace of Versailles, the Reggia of Caserta is the one that bears the greatest resemblance to the original model: the unbroken balustraded skyline and the slight break provided by pavilions within the long, somewhat monotonous façade. As at Versailles, a large aqueduct was required to bring water for the prodigious water displays. Like its French predecessor, the palace was intended to display the power and grandeur of an absolute Bourbon monarchy. A solecism at Caserta is that above the piano reale, the King’s floor, is another floor of equal magnificence. The enfilades of Late Baroque saloni were the heart and seat of government, as well as displays of national wealth. Caserta provided a royal refuge from the dust and factions of the capital, just as Versailles had freed Louis XIV from Paris. The royal palace has more than 40 monumental rooms completely decorated with frescoes when, in comparison, Versailles counts only 22 monumental rooms.

© panoramio.com - Carlo Pelagalli/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Diana and Actaeon Fountain at the feet of the Grand Cascade © Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0 The throne room © Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Editor04082022/cc-by-sa-4.0 © flickr.com - Prof. Mortel/cc-by-2.0 Grand Staircase of Honour © Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0
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The Diana and Actaeon Fountain at the feet of the Grand Cascade © Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0
The garden, a typical example of the Baroque extension of formal vistas, stretches for 120 ha, partly on hilly terrain. It is also inspired by the park of Versailles. 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 designed in the 1780s by Carlo Vanvitelli and the German-born botanist, nurseryman, plantsman-designer, John Graefer, trained in London and recommended to Sir William Hamilton by Sir Joseph Banks. It is an early Continental example of an English garden in the svelte naturalistic taste of Capability Brown. The fountains and cascades, each filling a vasca (basin), with architecture and hydraulics by Luigi Vanvitelli at intervals along a wide straight canal that runs to the horizon, rivalled those at Peterhof outside St. Petersburg. These include:

Many figures from classical Antiquity were modelled by Gaetano Salomone for the gardens of the Reggia and executed by large workshops. Contemporary observers noted that the Caserta surpassed all other European royal palaces, including its models, in one particular aspect: the combination of completeness and stateliness. This is attributed to the spacious oval piazza in front of the edifice’s south side.

The palace was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. According to the rationale, the palace, “whilst cast in the same mould as other 18th-century royal establishments, is exceptional for the broad sweep of its design, incorporating not only an imposing palace and park but also much of the surrounding natural landscape and an ambitious new town laid out according to the urban planning precepts of its time.”

Read more on reggia-di-caserta.com – Royal Palace of Caserta, Royal Palace of Caserta, VisitWorldHeritage.com – Caserta Royal Palace and Park and Wikipedia Royal Palace of Caserta (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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