Only a few of the rooms of this huge palace are open to the public, but they are well worth seeing, being a mixture of opulent and grand, and charming and bizarre.
My favourite room was the Hall of the Nativity Scene. The model of the stable at Bethlehem, in Italian presipio, is very much a Neapolitan craft, and the one in Caserta Palace is on an epic scale, a whole village of intricate figures.
The Caserta Palace garden is now a park. Its main feature is an enormous series of fountains leading to an 82 metre high waterfall fed by a specially built aqueduct. It is a very long walk from the palace to the waterfall, so you might want to take the bus back that goes up and down the park.
From the palace to the last fountain the roadway is straight . Fountains, pools, statues and various other sculptures around little stairways lead you up to the next level. When you reach the end of these, the roadway broadens and forms a semi-circular avenue marked by a wall (decorated with these statues). It is a very beautiful sight. Google links the Palace to an episode of star trek or star wars (if I remember correctly).
Luigi Vanvitelli (and his son who continued the work afterwards) is also responsible for the gardens, who climb up the hill for up to 3km. Fountains, ponds and statues decorate the park and the walk, with the artificial river running in the middle and descending in cascades from the hill. From the farther end of the gardens, you can have great views of the palace itself.
If walking uphill is not something you fancy, you can always use the use of the buses that run the whole distance...
The palace itself was built by Luigi Vanvitelli, an architect from Naples and is really impressive, with its 1200 rooms and 1790 windows.
Inside, the sheer height of the ceiling in royal rooms and the decorations that stay on the "light" side (classicism reigned at the time) provide a feeling of grandeur, but without being oppressive or overbearing.
Speaking of the "light" and dark side, it is in this palace that the interior scenes of the royal residence of queen Amidala from Star Wars were shot.
Warning: this 'extra' part of the Garden's walk is not recommended is you are not able bodied, or in a large family group with kids! There are risks involved in the part of the climb.
Apparently there is a path leading right up to the top of the waterfall at the end. It has been blocked off with wooden planks on both sides, but people (like me) still attempt the climb up. It was easy for me to decide to do the climb because people had already broke some planks off so you could just skip underneath it.
The paths up have not been maintained probably since the closure so it's not entirely safe. The paths are quite steep slope paths (they're not stairs), and in some areas near the waterfalls, the water spill over on the paths making it very slippery due to the algae.
Then as you reach to the top, you'd still need to climb through a fence hole by the waterfall. Take note that this is just beside the top of the waterfall so extra care is needed. Once you're in you just need to get to the second floor of that monument up there. It's quite a workout since you start from the palace right to the end and then still do this steep climb.. The view is amazing. Definitely the highlight of my Reggia di Caserta Trip!!!
At the end of this walk, you will come to a spectacular fountain with sculpture works by Paolo Persico, Angelo Brunelli and Pietro Solari, depicting the mythilogical episode of Diana and Actaeon, with the spectacular man made water fountain as the backdrop.
In this stage, you can see cascading pools of water from nearly the back of the gardens. Each pool there are large carp-like fishes. It's refreshing to hear the water gushing from one pool to the next. The gradient of the land starts to slope up.
In this second stage of the walk you will first see a large flat pool, with live fishes in them, they look like carps..
At the end there is a nice large fountain with many statues. There wasn't any water spouting from the statues at that time, but the poses of the statues really define the scene to be quite like a great painting. Unfortunately the front of the fountain was barricaded so you can't get close to the waters..
Follow me on the long Gardens walk at Reggia di Caserta!.. It's actually long walk on foot ~40 mins +++, but you're having this comfort from your PC! This is 1st stage on of the walk, which starts from the castle complex to the first roundabout. In this stage, there are no fountains, just a large flat area of grass.
If you're there, i think there are other options to get to the end of the gardens like the bus and also the horse carriage.
The Entrance to the castle leads to a long corridor along the complex and straight to the gardens at the back (you won't notice this until you walk to the end!). The ticket counter is here, and they have different tickets (for the palace rooms, the gardens, or both). Somewhere along midway on the left is the entrance to the castle's rooms.
Coming back on the topic of the gardens! If you get to the end of the corridor, your eyes will only see the end of this immensely long water park, which looks like it doesn't end. At the end somewhat you could make out a waterfall like thing at the hill in the background. Refer to pic 5, but pictures cannot express the feeling of it being there..
When you first visit this palace, you will only not see the "grandness" of the scale of the palace. The palace building looks basically just a longish rectagular complex from the front. I think maybe it's because during my visit, there was some construction for the gardens going on for the front of the palace, which is typical for any palace to have in the front for people to get a sense of size when approaching it. There was an alternate route along the main roads to get to the castle. I think when the construction is completed, you can access directly for the main train station there.
Reggia = Royal Palace.
This is an impressing building, built for the kings of the Bourbon dinasty who ruled over Naples. You can visit the rooms, and it's an interesting tour or just stroll along the huge and beautiful garden. Just walk there or bike, or rent one of the many horse carriages, or just jump on a bus. The garden is beautiful, and there are water polls and fountains, all in Baroque style. On the top of the path a nice "English garden" is the right end for a nice walk.
The walk is about 3 Km and there isn't much shade. So have plentu of water. Bars are available at the beginning and at the end of the path.
Reggia Apartments: While the main draw at the Reggia is probably the immense grounds surrounding the palace, the interior itself offers an interesting tour. Huge paintings adorn the ceilings, and grandiose decorations give a good sense of what palatial life at the Reggia must have been like.
Bottom-line: If you’re not too tired from walking around the palace grounds, the apartments are worth a look.
Located 40 mintues by train to the north of Naples, King Charles III of Naples commissioned the building of the Reggia di Caserta in 1752 to rival Versailles. In terms of sheer scale, the architects definitely succeeded. The palace itself is an immense structure, from which a large pathway leads 3.5 km past a series of fountains and sculptures to a majestic waterfall, which some of you may recognize as the setting for the final scene in the original 1977 Star Wars. I consider myself a pretty fast walker, however the journey from palace to waterfall took me a good 35 minutes, allowing for the occaisional photo op. That said, for the less physically inclined there is a bus service that goes at regular intervals around the grounds.
Getting there: Trains leave about every half hour from Naples Piazza Garibaldi station. The journey takes about 40 minutes. Transportation covered by Artecard.
Bottom-line: The vast size of the grounds makes landscaping difficult, and much of greenery seems a bit scruffy. Nevertheless, the view from atop the water fall looking down on the palace grounds is extraordinary.