Commissioned in 1751 by Charles Bourbon from the architect Luigi Vanvitelli, the Palace of Caserta – in Italian Reggia di Caserta – was designed to follow the example of Louis XIV’s Versailles by embodying the authority of royal power, but it was also an opportunity to create a spectacular setting of gardens and water courses, and to design a kind of ideal city, organised according to the most advanced criteria of the period.

Building work began in 1752 and ended long after the death of the King and his architect. Carlo Vanvitelli, Luigi’s son, took over the project first. He made a few changes to his father’s design. Work went on fairly discontinuously under the direction of other architects until 1847, when the Throne Room was completed.

The initial slowness of the work was due not so much to Luigi Vanvitelli’s death as to a drop in interest and a lack of funds following the departure of Charles Bourbon, who succeeded Ferdinand VI to the Spanish throne in 1758 and moved to Madrid, where he reigned under the name of Charles III.

Under Charles’ successor Ferdinand IV (later Ferdinand I, after the unification of Naples and Sicily in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies), the court lived in the Reggia only in spring and summer, during the party, reception and hunting season. It was the favourite residence of Ferdinand II, the last King.

The meticulous Court accounts indicate the cost of the Reggia: 6,133,507 ducats, an enormous sum for the period. Its construction required an undefined – but certainly enormous – number of hands, including Muslim slaves and prisoners.

The materials were carefully chosen: the tufa came from San Nicola La Strada, travertine from Bellona (the famous “Bellona stone”), limestone from San Leucio, pozzolana from Bacoli, brick from Capua, iron from Follonica, grey marble from Mondragone and white marble from Carrara.

The Reggia was royal property until 1921, belonging first to the Bourbons (apart from the Napoleonic interregnum), and then to the Savoys, after which it was transferred to the State.

Since 1993 it has housed the Local History Museum, a collection of historical/artistic material on the Province of Caserta.


Utility numbers and turistic infos

    +39 0823 448084

  • Royal Palace infos -
  • +39 0823 322233

  • Turistic infos -
  • +39 0823 321127

  • Opera Museum -


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