Reggia of Caserta
This royal palace, also known as “The Italian Versailles”, was commissioned by Spanish king Charles III of the Borbon dynasty, designed by Luigi Vanvitelli and completed in 1780. This complex, which includes a magnificent 120 hectares garden as well, is stunning for its beauty and grandeur, visible in the 1200 rooms and 1790 windows that compose the Reggia. The total expense ended up being 8.711.000 ducati (the currency at the time). On the southern side, the palace is 249 meters long and 38 meters high, decorated with 12 columns. The main fa’ade has a total of 26 columns placed between the windows.
The entire property extends itself on a total surface of 47.310 square meters. Along with the rectangular external building, the palace also has two intersecting structures inside the rectangle, that compose four very large internal courtyards (3.800 square meters each).
Around the main entrance area you can still see the basements on which the statues of Justice, Magnificence, Mercy and Peace (all virtues that belonged to the king) would have stood. Past the main entrance, a very large octagonal vestibule opens up (diameter is 15 meters), beautifully decorated with twenty Doric style columns, which leads on both sides to the passageways for the internal courtyards, while a frontal triple portico is the access to the central part of the Reggia.
Further on, another vestibule leads to the park. From this hall you can see the gorgeous royal staircase, a true masterpiece of architecture with its 117 steps and 19 meters in width, which has been seen in many films as well.
The most amazing and rich room in the entire palace is definitely the throne hall, where the king would receive ambassadors and delegates, administer justice and host the sumptuous royal balls. It measures 36 meters in length and 14 in width, and it is decorated with golden carvings and paintings by Gaetano Genovese, who worked at court in 1845.
Amongst the most important halls that are open to the public, a special mention has to be for the hall of Alexander (with marbles coming from the Temple ofSerapide in Pozzuoli and the thrones of Gioacchino Murat, former king of Naples, and Caroline Bonaparte), the halls dedicated to the Four Seasons, Giocchino Murat’s bedroom and private studio, the Biblioteca Palatina, the Pinacoteca (art gallery), the Camera del Consiglio (a room where important meetings were attended by the king and his officials and counselors) and the Sala Ellittica (oval hall), which contains a beautiful example of Presepe Napoletano(nativity scene).