Are you traveling to Italy and planning to visit the beautiful city of Naples? Here is everything you need to know to visit the Royal Palace of Caserta in Naples!
Founded in the 5th century BC at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, the city of Naples is home to an array of magnificent monuments, illustrating the city’s rich historical and cultural heritage. While it is famous for its importance during the Roman Empire and the catastrophic volcanic eruption that destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii, Naples has managed to remain relevant and a place of power. A testimony to its influence, the majestic Royal Palace of Caserta lies only 18 miles North of the city of Naples. It is one of the city’s most prestigious edifices, which many refer to as “the Versailles of Italy” as it was heavily inspired by its predecesssor near Paris.
A former royal residence constructed by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies as their principal residence as kings of Naples, the last and largest of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, alongside the Royal Palace of Naples, the Palace at Capodimonte and the Palace of Portici. The Royal Palace of Caserta is a monumental complex listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Naples has always been a place of power and a prized destination for the wealthy and powerful, who have built countless castles, palaces and villas, including on the nearby island of Capri. But while Naples has several castles, going back to different dynasties or families, from Castel Nuovo to Sant’Elmo Castle or Castel dell’Ovo, none are as elaborate and elegant as the Palace of Caserta. It has been described 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.” You can’t travel to Naples without visiting the Royal Palace of Caserta! We’ve compiled all the practical information you need to visit the Palace of Caserta departing from Naples.
History of the Caserta Palazzo Reale
The “Reggia di Caserta” (the Royal Palace of Caserta in Italian) is the former royal residence of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies as Kings of Naples. Construction work on this palace – which is the largest royal residence in the world in terms of volume – began in 1752 and was completed in 1780.
The project was launched under Charles de Bourbon, King of the Two Sicilies, and entrusted to the architect Luigi Vanvitelli. The aim was to create a majestic counterpart to the Château de Versailles and the Palacio Real in Madrid.
Aside from its sumptuous 656,600 sq. ft palace, the site also houses a park and water garden, woods, and hunting lodges. Home to one of the most extensive gardens in Campania, this sumptuous landmark is one of the most visited Italian monuments. The Palace of Caserta and its vast park have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage since 1997. The Palace’s classical style and similarity to the Vatican in Rome has made it a popular filming location: some scenes from Star Wars, Mission Impossible and Waterloo were shot at the palace!
What to see and do at the Royal Palace of Caserta?
Those who are keen to visit the Royal Palace of Caserta will come across an eyeful of splendid features both inside and outside the Palace! Built on a surface area of 538,200 sq. ft, the palace boasts impressive dimensions, housing a total of 1,200 rooms, 34 stairways and 240 windows!
Below is a list of what you can expect to see while visiting the palace:
- In the Palace
– The remarkable tilings of the Sala di Astrea (Astrea Hall), the Sala di Marte (March Hall) and the Sala del Trono (Throne Hall),
– The atrium, the Grand Staircase of Honor, and the chapel: all impressive
– The staircase that connects the lower vestibule to the upper entrance hall, from which the royal apartments can be accessed
– The Palatine Chapel, reminiscent of the chapel of the Palace of Versailles
– The courtyard theatre, built in the shape of a rounded horseshoe
– The many fabulous paintings of the Pinacoteca
– “The old apartment” where the Royal Crib is displayed
– The Palatine Library, annexed to the Queen’s quarters
– The rooms dedicated to the four seasons are just as charming.
- In the park
Home to magnificent fountains and waterfalls, the palace’s park is a typical example of the “Italian garden.” Replete with vast lawns and square-shaped flower beds, it houses exceptional fountains and water displays. To supply the ponds with water, Vanvitelli built an aqueduct several miles long. Let yourself be captivated by the ponds, fountains, and large sculptures that line the park’s central axis.
- Don’t miss the following fountains
– The Three Dolphins Fountain
– The Eole Fountain
– The Ceres Fountain
– The fountain of Venus and Adonis
– The Diana and Acteon Fountain
The park extends to the top of the hill at the back of the palace, where it gives way to a beautiful English garden, much less symmetrical. Here, nature seems to have reasserted itself, lending the garden a unique, charming feel.
How to get to the Palace of Caserta?
Getting to the Palace of Caserta is quite convenient as there are many options, regardless of where you choose to stay in Naples.
- By car
If you want to rent a car to visit the Royal Palace of Caserta, take the A30 motorway, which will take you to the palace in about 40 minutes. You will find a public basement parking in Piazza Carlo III, and many free parking spaces in the streets around the station, near the palace.
- By train
The train is a relatively simple and fast way to get to the Palace of Caserta from Naples. All you have to do is go to Naples Central Station and take the Naples-Caserta line (a ticket will cost around €6). The palace is located about 1300 feet opposite the station, on the other side of the main square, Giuseppe Garibaldi.
- By bus
You can also make your way to the palace via a shuttle bus departing from Naples. Tickets (for adults) cost about €15 per round trip.
Finally, there are many excursions available if you plan to visit the Palace of Caserta departing from Rome. Tours typically include the train ride from Rome and a guided tour of the Palace of Caserta to discover all its secrets.
Visit the Royal Palace of Caserta: opening hours and rates
The palace is open every day from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, except on Tuesdays, which is the closing day. Be careful, because the park closes earlier depending on the season, i.e., 3:00 pm in winter, 5:00 pm in spring and autumn, 7:00 pm in summer. The English garden closes about 1 hour before the park does.
- Access to the palace, the park, and the English garden:
- Access to the Palace only when the park is closed:
Full price: 12€
Reduced rate: 6€
Full price: 9€
Reduced rate: 4,50€
To be noted:
– The reduced rate applies to people aged 18 to 25.
– Admission is free until the age of 18.
– Please note that on the first Sunday of each month, access to the palace’s historical quarters is free and that the entrance to the park is only €5.
GOOD TO KNOW
Before you visit the Royal Palace of Caserta, we recommend reading the main information about this historic site. Here’s a selection of the essential aspects you need to remember as well as a few useful tips:
- Visiting the site
– To visit the Royal Palace of Caserta, we recommend spending a full day on site, allowing you to visit both the Palace and its gardens!
– For those who are keen for a comprehensive visit, multilingual audio guides are available for €5, but also guided tours (duration: 1h30), starting at €120.00.
– Drinking water fountains are available in the park, all along the way
– There are two food courts on the site
– A free luggage service is available
- Getting around the park
– Bike rental (€4 /hour – electric bike €6 – tandem €7)
– Horse-drawn carriage tour (€50 / 40 minutes)
– Shuttle: €2.50 for the round trip
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