18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex

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The monumental complex at Caserta, created by the Bourbon king Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting lodges and a silk factory. It is an eloquent expression of the Enlightenment in material form, integrated into, rather than imposed on, its natural setting.

Why should you visit?

The monumental complex at Caserta, whilst cast in the same mould as other 18th century royal establishments, is exceptional for the broad sweep of its design, incorporating not only an imposing palace and park, but also much of the surrounding natural landscape and an ambitious new town laid out according to the urban planning precepts of its time. The industrial complex of the Belvedere, designed to produce silk, is also of outstanding interest because of the idealistic principles that underlay its original conception and management.

Trivia

  • The palace has some 1,200 rooms, including two dozen state apartments, a large library, and a theatre modelled after the Teatro San Carlo of Naples.
  • The population of Caserta Vecchia was moved 10 kilometers to provide a work force closer to the palace. A silk manufactory at San Leucio resort was disguised as a pavilion in the immense parkland.
  • A monumental avenue that would run 20 kilometers between the Palace and Naples was planned but never realized.
  • In April 1945 the palace was the site of the signing of terms of the unconditional German surrender of forces in Italy.
  • In 1999 it served as a filming location for Star Wars when it was used as the setting for Queen Amidala’s Royal Palace on Naboo in the 1999 film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It featured again in the 2002 film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones as Queen Jamilla’s palace.
  • In its early days, San Leucio resort was a place for pleasure and a royal hunting preserve, built on the ruins of Saint Leucio church.
  • San Leucio resort is home to a Living Silk Museum with some original old looms and machinery restored and displayed inside the Belvedere courtyard, showing all the phases of silk productions, from the old looms and machinery to finished products.

Year of Inscription: 1997

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The monumental complex at Caserta, created by the Bourbon king Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting...

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