Campania - Places to Visit - Caserta
Caserta stands 65 m. above sea level on the edge of the fertile Campanian lowlands, at the foot of the Campania Preapennines.
Founded in 1752 round the monumental Palace, the old village of Caserta Vecchia of Lombard origin, built on a hill some ten kilometres from the present town, was gradually abandoned.
It was at Teano in the Province of Caserta that the historical encounter between Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi took place on 26th October 1860, marking the unification of Italy under the House of Savoy.
Caserta's greatest attraction is the majestic Palazzo Reale, built for King Charles of Bourbon by the great architect Luigi Vanvitelli.
The colossal work, begun in 1752, was finished in 1774 by Vanvitelli's son Carlo. The Palace (247 m.184 m., 41 m. in height) has 1,200 rooms and a richly decorated interior. Its immense park (120 hectares) has a wealth of artistic fountains ornamented with splendid statuary and waterfalls that gently ripple down the hill.
Especially beautiful is the Grande Cascata, a 78 m. high cascade. Important in Caserta Vecchia are the cathedral (12th century, Siculo-Norman style) with its 13th century campanile (Gothic), and the little church of the Annunziata (12th century, Gothic).
In the neighbourhood, the village of S. Leucio, built by Ferdinand IV of Bourbon as a silkmaking centre, has an interesting structure.
Caserta's economy is still based on agriculture and allied activities, and on an industrial sector operating at little more than craft level, in food (oil mills, pasta, canning), textile, engineering, tobacco, wood and glass manufacturing.
Events:Festa di S. Sebastiano (20 January), Concerts at the Royal Palace.
Famous People:Leonardo Santoro (storiographer, 1474-1569), Pasquale Battistessa (politician, 1769-1799), Francesco Saverio Correro (jurist, 1812-1895).
Cultural Institutions:Centro internazionale di studi vanvitelliani, Centro Studi Castellologici, Museo Vanvitelliano, at the Royal Palace, Teatro Comunale.
In the Province:Aversa (Museo di San Francesco), Mondragone (seaside resort, spa), Baia Domizia (seaside resort), Sessa Aurunca (environmental interest, historical parade, September), Capua (Museo Campano), S. Maria Capua Vetere (Antiquarium, Museo del Risorgimento), Roccamonfina (nearby Sanctuary of S. Maria dei Lattani, fine cloisters).