Caserta, Province of Caserta, Campania
- Population: about 75,000 inhabitants in 2018
- Zip/postal code: 81100
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0823
- Demonym: casertani
- Patron Saint: St. Sebastiano and Sant'Anna
- Frazioni: Aldifreda, Briano, Casertavecchia, Casola, Casolla, Centurano, Ercole, Falciano, Garzano, Mezzano, Piedimonte di Casolla, Pozzovetere, Puccianiello, San Benedetto, Santa Barbara, San Clemente, San Leucio, Sala di Caserta, Sommana, Staturano, Tredici, Tuoro, Vaccheria.
- Rioni (urban districts): Acquaviva, Cerasola (or Cerasole), Cappiello, Falcone, Michelangelo, Parco degli Aranci, Paschi, Petrarelle, Primavera, Rione Trento, Santa Rosalia, Tescione, Vanvitelli, 167, Volturno.
History - Antiquity
History - the Middle Ages
History - Modern Times
In the late 18th century King Ferdinand IV built a royal residence, the Belvedere Palace, in the hamlet of San Leucio, with a silk factory attached to it, a charming Italian garden at the back and with a view of the Caserta plain and the gulf of Naples - which explains the name "Belvedere". Around it, the San Carlo and San Ferdinando quarters were built as residence for the silk factory workers, and the king issued an edict (the "utopia ferdinandea") where he dreamed of a sort of perfect society, asking the citizens of San Leucio to abolish all forms of luxury and advocating absolute economic equality, to start a society that was to be self-sufficient, living on the production of silk.
Between the late 19th and early 20th century Caserta was a small town centered around the palace. After the destruction of the Second World War, the city was to pieces, and huge reconstruction works took place. Starting from the 1970s, the building boom created residential neighborhoods with good quality of life, but at the same time also the rise of overly inhabited areas with few green spaces. In July 1994 the city was the venue for the gala dinner on the occasion of the G7.
How to reach it
- Motorway: Caserta is connected to the motorway network through the Caserta Nord and Caserta Sud exits of the A1 Milan-Naples motorway, as well as the Caserta exit of the A30 Caserta-Salerno motorway.
- Road: in 2008 State Road 700 of the Royal Palace of Caserta was inaugurated between the Strada Statale 265 of the Ponti della Valle and the State Road 7 Appia.
- Railways: Caserta station, built as early as 1843, is a transit station on the Naples-Rome line via the Cancello Cassino line, and is also connected to a secondary branch of Aversa, which makes interchanges possible to get onto the main Rome-Naples via the Formia line. The station is also connected to Foggia and is a main interchange node to reach Puglia from Campania. It also offers direct connections to Salerno through the Caserta-Salerno via Sarno route.
What to see
- The Reggia of Caserta was begun in 1752 for Carlo VII of Naples, who worked closely with his architect Luigi Vanvitelli (1700-73); in 1759 the king abdicated in favor of his third son Ferdinand IV, for whom the project was completed. Vanvitelli was followed at the project by his son Carlo. The Royal Palace included about 1200 rooms, two dozen state apartments, a royal theater modelled after the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The population of Caserta Vecchia was shifted 10 km to be available to the new palace, and a silk manufactory at San Leucio was disguised as a pavilion in the immense parkland.
As at Versailles, a major aqueduct was required to bring water for the gaedens and fountains. Like Versailles, the palace was designed to function as the heart and brain of a centralized, absolute Bourbon monarchy, not only as a mansion for the royal family and the court of the Kingdom of Naples, but also to house the offices of government, barracks, a library, a university, and a theater.
The fountains and cascades, each filling a vasca ("basin"), with architecture and hydraulics by Luigi Vanvitelli at intervals along a wide straight canal that runs to the horizon, rivalled those at Peterhof, St. Petersburg. A large population of figures from classical Antiquity were modelled by Gaetano Salomone for the Caserta gardens and excuted by large workshops. In the 1780s, an early Continental example of an "English garden" was added.
- The Belvedere of San Leucio, built to fulfill the dream of King Ferdinand to establish an ideal community called Ferdinandopoli, includes royal apartments, an Italian garden and the annexed Silk Museum, where it is possible to visit the 18th-century machinery for the weaving of a silk that became famous all over the world, and was used for the White House, Buckingham Palace and Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome.
- The medieval Borough of Casertavecchia, rising at 401 meters a.s.l., the ancient Caserta is an entirely medieval village dominating the whole city below. Of great interest are the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, the nearby church of the Annunciation, and the medieval castle with the tower.