The Royal Palace of Caserta is, without any doubt, one of the most beautiful royal palaces in Europe. If you are on holiday in Naples, Salerno or surroundings, you must visit it. In this article, I will tell you some secrets and curiosities to make the most of your visit to The Royal Palace of Caserta. Such as the other articles, the goal is not to serve as a guide, but rather to share with you what impressed me the most and that I think can make your experience truly unique.
- Something about the history
- Where to start the visit
- The Historical Apartments
- The Royal Park
- How to reach the Reggia di Caserta from Salerno
Something about the history
Before it became a UNESCO site in 1997, the Royal Palace of Caserta was the home of the Bourbon royal family of Naples. The king of Naples, Carlo di Borbone, gave orders to build it, and in 1751 he commissioned the architect Luigi Vanvitelli to design a palace that could compete with those of Europe’s greatest rulers. It was on his birthday, on January 20 of 1752, that the first stone of the palace was laid, inaugurating its construction. This moment is depicted in a fresco present in the historic apartments: do not forget to raise your eyes to the ceiling once you arrive in the “Room of the Throne”. Among those present, you will also notice the architect Vanvitelli holding the project of the Royal Palace of Caserta.
The construction of the Palace of Caserta ended in 1845, although the lucky ones lived there from 1780 and, alas, Carlo di Borbone was not one of them, as, in 1759, he had ascended to the throne of Spain and had returned to Madrid. Among the kings who succeeded him was Gioacchino Murat, who was King of Naples for two years at the time of the Napoleonic conquest of the Kingdom of Naples. Murat contributed to the beautification of the royal palace, which is why you will hear his name when visiting the historic apartments.
Where to start the visit
To access the Royal Palace of Caserta you will have to walk along a long avenue, from which you can admire a small part of the total of 1742 windows and 1200 rooms of which the palace is composed. You will see the avenue from the “Alexander’s Room” as you visit the Historic Apartments. The visit inside the Palace will concern the part that corresponds to the second floor of the facade. The back of the building, which overlooks the Royal Park, will not be open to visitors. This detail is important to better organize the visit, especially if you are a lover of views and sunsets like me. If you plan to see both the Historical Apartments and the Royal Park, in fact, you will have to decide what to visit before and what after. Here are my tips:
If you visit the Royal Palace of Caserta in the months from October to February, my advice is to see first the Royal Park and then the Historical Apartments. The closure of the Park during these months, in fact, is planned in the early afternoon and this will not allow you to see the sunset. It is therefore worth visiting the Park in sunlight and then the interior when the sun is down and everything will be illuminated by the lights.
If, on the other hand, you visit the Palace of Caserta in the months from March to September, I recommend you first access the Historical Apartments and devote the remaining time to the visit of the Royal Park, which will close later in the afternoon and, for this reason, you will be able to admire the sunset from here.
Below I reveal some secrets and curiosities for the visit to the Royal Park and the Historical Apartments. Before proceeding, however, see who tried to enter the palace secretly. If you don’t recognize any place, follow reading this article.
The Historical Apartments
To access the Historical Apartments you have to reach the Gallery of the Palace, also called “Cannocchiale” by Vanvitelli, which connects the entrance door with that of access to the Royal Park. In the centre of the Gallery is the Lower Vestibolo from which you can access the four internal courtyards in which the palace is divided. To go upstairs you will have to use the “Scalone” that gives access to the Upper Vestibolo.
Before arriving at Alexander’s Hall, from which you can observe the outer avenue of the Palace, you cross two sumptuous rooms: The Hall of the Alabardians and the Hall of the Bodyguards. Alexander’s Hall divides the palace into two areas: on the right the 19th-century wing and on the left the 18th-century wing. The most important room in the 19th-century wing is the Room of the Throne where, as I anticipated, there is the fresco depicting the laying of the first stone of the palace.
The 18th-century wing is full of frescoes and art. This wing is introduced by four rooms dedicated to the four seasons that will leave you speechless for their beauty. Then you reach the King’s bedroom and the Library with reading rooms.
The visit to the Historic Apartments takes about two hours. After you finish it, watch this short scene from Ron Howard’s Angels and Demons from 2009. Do you recognize where it was shot?
The Royal Park
To admire the entire Royal Park and reach the Great Waterfall that flows from the mountain, prepare to walk three kilometres of wonder. The park develops in a long way, in a perfect geometry of fountains and greenery. Looking at the Great Waterfall, as you stroll, it will seem as if the water coming down was painted on the mountain in the background.
Along the way, you’ll see five majestic fountains: the Fountain of Dolphins, the Aeolo Fountain, the Ceres Fountain, the Fountain of Venus and Adonis, and finally the Fountain of Diana and Atteone.
Every fountain has a story to tell that deserves to be known. For this reason, a panel has been placed next to each of them with an explanation of what is depicted, in Italian and English.
My advice is to pause and admire every fountain, trying never to look back, a bit like Orpheus who did not have to turn to look at Eurydice to bring it back into the world of the living. If you manage not to fall into the temptation to turn to look at the Palace behind you, the return path will prove even more beautiful. If you could see the Great Waterfall in the background, on the way back you will have the view of the Palace of Caserta, framed by the perfection of the fountains that offer a unique spectacle.
How to reach the Royal Palace of Caserta from Salerno
If you are in Salerno for several days you can not miss the visit to the Palace of Caserta. Reaching it is very simple both by car and train.
If you’re going by car it will take 50 minutes. Once you arrive in Caserta, I recommend you park at “Tetris Parking”, very close to the city centre and the Palace.
If you decide to reach the Palace of Caserta by train, it is even more simple: connect on the Trenitalia website and look for trains from Salerno to Caserta. Direct train solutions will take exactly 1 hour. Once you arrive at the Caserta station, you only have to cross the road to be in front of the alley that leads to the Palace.
If you choose the fast train Italo, you can change and take the Italobus that will bring you directly to the station in front of the Palace!
I hope this information will help you plan your visit to the Palace of Caserta. If you want to ask me a few questions leave a comment, or write me directly on WhatsApp!