The Royal Palace of Caserta (Caserta) is a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, built to serve as the main residence of the Bourbon kings of Naples. The Royal Palace of Caserta is located very close to the gladiatorial arena in Capua and not far from the millennial city of Naples.
This is one of the largest palaces built in Europe in the XVIII century. The idea of the king, who ordered the construction of the palace, was for him to be a worthy rival of the French Palace of Versailles and the Spanish Palace of Escorial. It simply would not be an exaggeration to say that the Royal Palace in Caserta is a tale of splendor and splendor.
In 1997, the palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. His nomination describes him as "the swan song of grand baroque art". The Royal Palace in Caserta is one of the largest royal residences in the world with over 1 million cubic meters. volume and area of about 160,000 sq.m. For the construction of the Royal Palace in Caserta, the local population was moved 10 kilometers away from their homes to be closer to the construction site, as labor had to be provided.
Construction of the palace began in 1752 for Charles VII of Naples, who worked closely with the architect Luigi Vanvitelli. When Charles saw Vanvitelli's majestic model for Caserta, he was filled with an emotion "capable of ripping the heart out of his chest." After all, Charles VII did not sleep a night in Reggae, as he abdicated in 1759 to become King of Spain, and the project was only partially completed in honor of his third son and heir, Ferdinand IV of Naples.
The political and social model set in the design of the Royal Palace in Caserta is the Palace of Versailles, which, although strikingly different in variety and location, plays the same role - to be a building for the king, his court and government. The proposal provides for a palace, which is a kind of virtual city, which houses not only the king and the court, but also all major political and cultural elites of the Kingdom of Sicily - university, museum, library, offices, senior military commanders and others.
Apart from being the seat of the main institutions, the king wanted this palace to have a new magnificent royal court and administrative center for the kingdom, in a place protected from naval attack and at the same time away from the rebellious and congested city of Naples. Barracks were also opened in the palace to ensure adequate protection for the king.
The Royal Palace in Madrid, where Charles grew up, and the Charlottenburg Palace are the inspiration for the Royal Palace in Gambling. Its spacious octagonal lobby seems to have been inspired by the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. The chapel of the palace is believed to have been borrowed from the Royal Chapel of Versailles. Vanviteli died in 1773, but the construction of the Royal Palace in Caserta was continued by his son Carlo and then by other architects.
From 1923 to 1943 the palace was transferred to the Italian Air Force Academy - Academy of Aeronautics. Since October 1943, the Royal Palace in Caserta has served as the headquarters of the Allied Forces in the Mediterranean. In April 1945, the Royal Palace in Caserta was the place where the conditions for the unconditional German surrender of forces in Italy were signed. In 1945, the palace hosted the first war crimes trial, in which German General Anton Dostler was sentenced to death and executed in Aversa.
The Royal Palace in Caserta has an interesting layout. The palace consists of 5 floors, 1,200 rooms, 25 royal suites, a large library and a theater modeled on the San Carlo Theater in Naples. The palace has a rectangular shape and measures 247 m x 184 m. Each floor measures approximately 47,000 square meters, but given the five floors, the entire palace measures 235,000 square meters. The Royal Palace in Caserta has over 40 monumental rooms, completely decorated with frescoes, unlike Versailles, which has only 22.
The Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest royal palace in the world in volume, with more than 2 million cubic meters. The palace comprises four courtyards, which are characterized by what scholars describe as a well-distributed interior that evokes a monotonous dignity, unique at the time.
Of all the royal residences inspired by the Palace of Versailles, the palace in Caserta bears the greatest resemblance to the original model. As in Versailles, a large aqueduct was built to provide water for the amazing water decorations. Like its French predecessor, the Royal Palace of Caserta aims to demonstrate the power and grandeur of the absolute Bourbon monarchy. The palace in Caserta provides a royal refuge, just as Versailles served as a refuge for Louis XIV when he tried to move away from Paris.
The parks and gardens of the Royal Palace in Caserta are also extremely impressive. They are a typical example of Baroque and cover 120 ha, on partly hilly terrain. Here the inspiration again comes from the park of Versailles. They start from the back facade of the palace, and surround the approximately 3 km long alley with artificial fountains and cascades. There is an interesting botanical garden called the "English Garden". This garden was designed in 1780 by Carlo Vanvitelli and the born botanist and designer John Graefer, trained in London and recommended to Sir William Hamilton by Sir Joseph Banks.
The fountains and cascades in the park of the Royal Palace in Caserta compete with those in Peterhof, St. Petersburg. They differ:
- The Fountain of Diana and Actaeon with sculptures by Paolo Persico, Angelo Maria Brunelli and Tomaso Solari;
- The Fountain of Venus and Adonis;
- The Fountain of the Dolphins;
- The Fountain of Aeolus;
- The Fountain of Ceres.
A large number of figures from classical antiquity were modeled by Caetano Salomon specifically for the palace gardens.
Contemporary critics point out that the Royal Palace of Caserta surpassed all other royal palaces in Europe in one particular aspect: the combination of completeness and dignity. This is due to the spacious oval square in front of the south side of the building.
Apart from its architectural heritage and tourist attraction, the Royal Palace in Caserta is the setting for several well-known films. Its classic style and resemblance to the Vatican make it a popular place to shoot. He was used as a "backup" for the Vatican in "Mission Impossible III", "Angels and Demons" and "The Good Pope" - a biographical film about Pope John XXIII. In addition, the palace in Caserta is "playing the role" of the Royal Palace of Nabu in the series "Star Wars".
Today, only one floor of the palace is open to the public. But still, during a walk through it, one will be dumbfounded in front of its facade, its interior, its decoration.
Its imposing central staircase is made of pure marble and is richly decorated with a lavishly painted ceiling. The throne room undoubtedly respects with its high ceiling and gilded ornaments. Everything in it amazes - from the smallest detail to the scale of the hall itself. Completely preserved authentic furniture, including the throne itself, creates a memorable specific feeling. The lavish baroque exuded even the furniture - exquisite and intricate wood carvings, lavish shapes and original ideas.
Walking around the apartment where the king once slept is a kind of unforgettable adventure. Their walls are covered with fine silk wallpaper, made in San Leucho. The technology is preserved to this day, but everything is done with a special request. Customers for these silk wallpapers are mostly Arab sheikhs.
The three libraries of the Royal Palace in Caserta amaze with an abundance of literary works and volumes of scientific works.
Apart from the Royal Palace in Caserta, the Old Town is also of interest.