2 Aug,2019 By Jagabond
How is the Caserta Royal Palace not more known?
Are you looking for a Disney experience? I found a palace in Italy, south of Rome, that’s worthy of animation. It doesn’t have a talking teapot, but it does make you imagine life as a prince or princess. If I were a beast or hunchback I’d be happy to never leave this place. Give me three wishes from a genie and I might conjure up something like this. Okay…stopping now with the movie references.
In all seriousness, some travelers say the Caserta Royal Palace impresses more than the ultra-touristy palace in Versailles, though it remains a hidden gem to many. Caserta sits just outside Naples, so visits to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast take precedence. I think this is a great option for those who plan too many days in the region. Consider a trip to Caserta once you realize you have an open half-day slot on your holiday schedule.
The Caserta Royal Palace was constructed in the 18th century as a residence for the King of Naples, and in terms of volume is the largest royal residence in the world. The palace maintains a modest appearance as you approach, with a nondescript peach and white color combination. In fact, I wasn’t sure I was at the right building. Thankfully I disregarded my first impression.
Palace visits consist of two parts – the massive gardens outside and a walk through the elegantly themed rooms inside. This acts as almost two distinct tours that will overwhelm you in a good way.
This gives you an idea of how long the gardens go on for, as you can just barely see the palace in the distance. The frightening yet angelic baby face staring back at you adds to the intrigue.
Luckily for those not in the mood for walking, there are horse carriages available to escort you through the gardens.
Are you a dog lover? Then you would like the goddess, Diana…unless you were the unfortunate hunter depicted in this statue. He dared spy on Diana while bathing, so he was turned into a deer, and his hounds were turned upon him. The lesson here…don’t peep on goddesses!
Walking the gardens you see many statues with a story to tell. They are also great for memes if you’re a person who gets creative with captions.
The gardens are adorned with fountains. This one has dolphin and sea monster hybrids that spit water aggressively. King Ferdinand was a fan, even throwing a party at the fountain’s unveiling in 1781.
The Aeolus fountain tells the tale of gods expelling the Trojans from the Italian coast, through a series of built-in statues. It also extends well beyond the picture below, making it the largest fountain at the palace.
Mars is the god of war and looms over this room in the palace. This was mostly a waiting area for high ranking military guests.
How much money do I need to make as a travel blogger to get a bedroom like this?
Depending on when you visit the Caserta Royal Palace, there will likely be a modern art display, which ranges from glamorous to offbeat and all things in between.
Alexander the Great has an overhead fresco here, depicting his marriage to an oriental princess. The world knows him as a great warrior and conqueror of lands, but it also looks like he can throw one hell of a party.
The Caserta Royal Palace has one room for each season. The spring room, shown below, has amazing paintings of coastal beauty in both Naples and the nearby town of Gaeta.
The autumn room was my favorite…the golden colors accurately reflected the fall season. The frescoes depicted Bacchus, who as the god of wine is very popular in Italy.
This Victorian beauty and cradle for a prince was made in only thirty-five days, highlighting the skill of local craftsmanship.
I thought the throne room was mildly disappointing. Doesn’t the chair look a bit small? Also, what about ergonomic issues? A throne like that would be hell on the back, especially for a sloucher like me.
I’ve been to many libraries in my university days, but nothing like this. Clearly the mixing of science and religion wasn’t a concern. A little known secret…I’ve always wanted a globe of my own for my office space.