Il Mezzogiorno - Naples & Southern Italy - September 2010

Reggio di Caserta

Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini


When Charles III, a Spanish Bourbon, arrived in 1734, he became Naples’ first resident sovereign in 230 years, reigning as Charles VII of Naples.  He transformed his new home town into a city of the Enlightenment.  In 1752, the palazzo reale (reggia) was commissioned to be built in Caserta, just outside Naples and with a view of Vesuvius.  The king never slept there since he abdicated in favor of his son, Ferdinand IV, to become King of Spain when his father died in 1759.

The reggia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and comparable to the palaces of the other royal houses of Europe such as Versailles.   It has five stories, 1,790 windows, 43 staircases, and over 1,200 rooms arranged around four monumental courtyards that are interconnected through an entrance hall.  The grand staircase is a masterpiece of the architect, Luigi Vanvitelli. 

Of the many richly-adorned, rococo-decorated apartments, salons and ceremonial rooms, forty are open to the public.  Most of the palace is used by the Italian air force.  

The park surrounding the palace epitomizes the ideal Baroque garden.  The fountains and fish ponds are fed by a 40 km. aqueduct that spans five mountains and three valleys before beginning the upper cascade.  The most notable sculptural group is of Diana and Actaeon at the foot of the grand cascade.

The photographs were taken with Leica cameras, the M8, M9 and D-LUX 3.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We can be contacted via e-mail at   Our home page is

March 9, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        wgfm

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