Prior to departing for Italy – there was a lot of research on where to go. I am one of those super planned & eager travellers, who has a spreadsheet for everything and like to source the best places to see and things to eat. The minute I set eyes on Reggia di Caserta, the Royal Palace of Caserta, I knew we had to go. It was the largest palace built in Europe during the 18th century, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. Many people have called it the Italian Versailles, with the baroque building actually modelled off the one in France (take a look at the Palace of Versailles here).
The gardens leading away from the Palace span a distance of three kilometers. We decided to hire bikes, but you can also walk, take a bus or a horse and cart to the top. It was so beautiful, and there are plenty of places to stop and explore along the way. Once you reach the end, you are greeted with a beautiful waterfall, and a view of the gardens spanning all the way back to the Palace. To the right of the waterfall is the entrance to the English gardens. Ditching the bikes, we set off on foot to explore the gardens and came across some beautiful old structures that unfortunately have been poorly maintained, they were actually quite eery. We also discovered the gardeners house, which is probably double the size of my own house. Very impressive!
Making our way back down, it was time to explore the Palace. There are 1,200 rooms, including a dozen state apartments, large library, and its very own theatre. The furnishings and murals on the walls were unbelievable, with each room having it’s own style. I especially loved the perfectly symmetrical entranceway with the staircases leading up to the next floor. It always amazes me to think how they built these structures when machinery like we have today didn’t exist.
I hope you enjoy the multitude of photos below :) and if you’re like me and love to explore beautiful old buildings, I would definitely put Reggia di Caserta on your travel plans if you’re in the South of Italy. The Palace is approximately 28km from Naples if you want to consider doing a day trip. The entrance fee is 12 euros and gives you access to the Palace, Park and English Garden. To hire bicycles for two hour cost us about 5 euros each.