The Royal Palace of Caserta, famous for its massive size and opulent style, is a triumph of late Italian Baroque architecture. The largest royal residence in the world, the palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, shares a number of features with the Palace of Versailles and is one of the most-visited monuments in southern Italy.
The 18th-century Royal Palace (Reggia di Caserta) was built by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli for the Bourbon kings of Naples. It sits majestically on a hill overlooking its 300 acres of undulating grounds, including ornate fountains and water features and the English Garden, one of the most important botanical gardens in Europe. The palace, inspired by Versailles in France and similarly opulent structures in Madrid, includes 1,200 rooms on five floors, including royal apartments, the Throne Room, the Palatine Chapel, and the Grand Staircase, all sumptuously decorated with frescoes, marble, and gold leaf. The Royal Palace and park are among the most popular attractions in the region of Campania; the best way to fully appreciate its architecture and history is by taking a private guided tour of the palace and its beautiful gardens.
Things to Know Before You Go
- As one of the largest palaces in the world, visiting the Reggia di Caserta is a mammoth undertaking. You’ll be spending most of the day on your feet, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
- If you don’t want to tour the grounds on foot, you can rent a bike, take the bus, or opt for a horse-drawn carriage ride.
- The palace and grounds are wheelchair-accessible.
- Star Wars fans may recognize the palace as the setting for scenes from Episode I and Episode II.
How to Get There
The palace is located in Caserta, just north of Naples—it’s an easy day trip from Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, or Rome. (Exit the Autostrada A1 at Caserta Nord.) You can also take the train right to Caserta.
When to Get There
The Reggia di Caserta is open 8am to 7:30pm daily, except for Tuesdays. The grounds close earlier in winter. The English Garden is open for guided tours more or less hourly (10am to 4:30pm daily).
The grounds of the royal palace also house the historic San Leucio silk factory; today it’s the Silk Museum, with original looms and historic machinery on display.