Caserta: The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace of Caserta belonged to the House of Bourbon from 1752 to 1860 when it passed to the Savoy family. The Palace became the property of the Italian state in 1919.
When Luigi Vanvitelli died in 1773, the work was still unfinished. It was only when in 1847 the Throne Room was finished, that the work could be considered completed. The Palace has a square design and the area is split into four courtyards separated by an impressive entrance hall and three naves with two lateral wings. The Royal Palace has 1,200 rooms (some of them are open to the public as Royal Apartments), a splendid Park and a beautiful English Garden.
The Park extends over approximately 120 hectares on slightly sloping land and is one of the greatest architectural complexes in Europe. Water for the park and its fountains is supplied by the Vanvitelli Aqueduct.
The six monumental fountains that adorn the gardens were designed by different architects.
A wing of the park is occupied by the English Garden.
Casertavecchia is an Italian medieval village that lies at the foot of the Tifatini Mountains located 10 km north-east of the City of Caserta. The previous Roman town was called "Casam Irtam" (from the Latin meaning home village located above).
In 1960, Casertavecchia was designated an Italian National Monument. Sites worth visiting consist of the Cathedral of S.Michele, a magnificent example of arab-norman architecture with a polychromatic lantern and belltower, the remains of the original castle and the Mullioned House, an example of a 15th century aristocratic home.
Capua (Santa Maria Capua Vetere)
Cicero called ancient Capua Altera Roma, and now it corresponds to the modern town of S.Maria Capua Vetere. Its monuments remind us the splendour of the Roman time: The Mitreo and the Amphiteatre.
The Mithraeum was a place of worship for the followers of the mystery religion of Mithraism. It could be either an adapted natural cave or cavern or an artificial building imitating a cavern.
The one of S.Maria Capua Vetere dates back to the 2nd-3rd centuries AD. On the far wall a fresco of the god killing a bull can still be seen (2nd century AD).
It was built in the time of Augustus, restored by Hadrian and dedicated by Antoninus Pius. The exterior was formed by 80 Doric arcades of four stories each, but only two arches now remain.
The interior is better preserved; beneath the arena are subterranean passages like those in the amphitheatre at Puteoli. It is one of the largest in existence; the longer diameter is 170 m (185 yd), the shorter 140 m (152 yd), and the arena measures 75 by 45 m (83 by 49 yd), the corresponding dimensions in the Colosseum at Rome being 188, 155, 85, 53 m (205, 170, 93 and 58 yd).
Close to the Amphiteatre you can find the Gladiator Museum, full of original armour; it will be particularly appreciated by children.
San Leucio is a small village in the province of Caserta.
In the XVIII century Ferdinando of Bourbon, king of Naples, selected this place for an unusual social and tecnological experiment, a different model of production based on technical innovation and alert to the needs of workers: a silk factory. Noisy looms were installed next to royal apartments and a sitting room became a chapel for the workers.
The revolution of 1799 stopped the complete realization of the Ferdinandopoli, but the heritage of King Ferdinand still survives today in the local silk and textile firms, which work on an international scale to elite foreign clients as the Buckingham Palace, the White House, the Quirinale Palace, the Palazzo Chigi.
The S. Leucio Belvedere was re-open to the public few years ago, and it shows us some original old looms and machinery restored and displayed inside the Belvedere courtyard.
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