Sunday, July 1, 2012

Caserta Palace & Gardens

A couple of weeks ago we visited Caserta with our friends Ayessa, Charlie, Ashley, and Kamalan. Caserta Palace is located only about 25 miles from downtown Naples, which made it very easy for us to visit for the day. It was built in the 18th century to rival Versailles, and while the palace has around 1200 rooms, (including a large library, two dozen state apartments, and a theater) it is largely overlooked in terms of tourist and visitors. 

The complex is an exceptional establishment with an imposing palace and gardens. The magnificent marble staircase (which was used as a stand in for the Vatican in "Angels and Demons" and in the "Star Wars" Episodes I and II) led us up to the rooms of the palace consisting of many art pieces, ornate walls, original royal furniture, and fresco painted ceilings.









Now that's a big nativity scene!
The gardens are an impressive sight. Stretching 2.5 miles from the back of the palace are a series of cascades, fountains, and lifelike sculptures along a wide canal that leads to the Grand Cascade. The palace offers many different options for people who don't want to walk it, including horse drawn carriages, bikes, and trolleys (though the trolleys were not running when we were there). At just about 90 degrees with strong sun it made total sense for us to want to walk all of the gardens and back! As we walked the gardens we passed by locals having picnics in the shade, families getting their history fix for the day, and runners taking advantage of the wide paths.




Unfortunately, the waterfalls were not too impressive two weeks ago as they were lacking an essential component... water! From afar the "waterfall" looked like a big dry hill. At the end of our journey we were able to see tiny streams trickling down from the top, but nothing like the pictures and descriptions we had seen and heard. Here is what we saw on our day:


Where's all of the water?
And here is what they usually look like:

Taken from travelswithjim.com
Taken from travelswithjim.com
Oh well, can't win them all! After a stop for gelato and water, we went to the right of the main gardens where there is a botanical garden called "The English Gardens". Here, we were surprised to find a small tranquil pond surrounded by an old cave like dwelling.





Exiting the English Gardens we soon realized we had a daunting task ahead of us...


We could definitely see parallels between Caserta Palace and Versailles and can see why the two palaces rivaled each other back in the day. With it's impressive grounds, it's amazing that this treasure is just a short drive away from our home.


3 comments:

  1. donlitt@hotmail.comJuly 1, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    What a stupendous artifact. We've never heard of it. Seems daunting to walk the promenade that far. We're so glad that you two have the oportunity to braoden your vision of the world so easily. It usually takes a lifetime to cover the ground you've done in just a few months.
    All our Love, Grandma and Grandpa

    ReplyDelete
  2. As always..we love seeing and hearing about the beautiful sites throughout ITALY, Germany, France, England etc.
    Looking forward to your next "Go To..."
    Love Always,
    Mom

    ReplyDelete