The Royal Garden is annexed to the Royal Palace of Caserta, the fulcrum of the monumental complex of Caserta. Commissioned by Charles of Bourbon, it was designed by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli following the example of the Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles.
The building occupies a surface of about 47,000 square metres and has 1,200 rooms lit by over 1,700 windows. It is rectangular on plan with four courtyards, divided by two blocks of the central building. The original project also included two semi-circular wings, embracing the enormous square overlooking the main facade, nowadays isolated.
The entrance hall of the Palace leads to a long three-aisles gallery with a “telescopic perspective” on the four courtyards, which open the view to the park and to the Via d’acqua. The spectacular Stairway of Honour (Scalone d’Onore), with a large central ramp, followed by two parallel lateral ramps, conducts to the upper vestibule, which is octagonal on plan and illuminated by large windows. From the upper vestibule the tour leads to the Palatine Chapel, rectangular on plan with a semi-circular apse, decorated by polychrome marbles. The entire project was clearly modelled on the one at Versailles, as it is possible to see by its barrel vault, adorned with ceiling coffers and golden rose windows.
The Royal Apartments of the House of Bourbon
On the left of the Chapel, on the first floor, are the Royal Apartments of the House of Bourbon, which include the Throne Room, preceded by Antechambers, the King’s apartment and the one of the Queen. Together with the numerous rooms in the Apartments, particularly interesting is the Palatine Library (Biblioteca Palatina). It contains more than 14,000 books representing the European culture and works. The elliptical Room, the last room of the library, contains a reconstruction of the Royal Nativity Scene: this is the way to the Picture Gallery, a collection of works which are distributed in various rooms, and some of them, as the so-called Quadreria, expose the Royal’s portraits of the Bourbon dynasty.
Art exhibition Terrae Motus
The back rooms of the Historic Apartments contain the contemporary art exhibition “Terrae Motus”, assembled by the gallery owner Lucio Amelio after the 1980 earthquake. It includes works of the greatest contemporary artists, such as Warhol, Haring, Schifano, Beuys, and Pistoletto.
Lastly, the Theatre is extremely important: situated in the west side of the Palace, it is the small-scale replica of the San Carlo Theatre of Naples and has five orders of boxes with a sumptuous Royal Box. Inaugurated in 1769, this is the only room completed by Vanvitelli after ten years of work.