May 21: On Monday Thomas and I went to the Royal Palace of Caserta with some friends. It was a blast. Our tickets admitted us to the palace as well as the royal garden–both breathtaking in terms of size and beauty.
We toured the palace first. The massiveness of the palace and intricacy of its architecture and paintings blew my mind; every room is a work of art. It is the largest Royal Palace in the world in terms of volume. Apparently there are around 1,200 rooms in all, but we couldn’t walk through all of them. The Reggia was constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples. Building began in 1752 for Charles VII of Naples, but he never actually stayed there because he resigned to become King of Spain in 1759, so the project was finished for his third son, Ferdinand IV of Naples. The original architect, Luigi Vanvitelli (the most prominent Italian architect of the 18th century), died in 1773, so his son Carlo took over. The palace was completed in 1780. I took this picture as we were walking up to the palace, but there’s more in the gallery at the end of this post.
The palace has been used in a lot of movies too. It was used as Queen Amidala’s Royal Palace on Naboo in Star Wars Episodes I and II. Here’s a screen shot:
The palace was also used in Mission Impossible III as the Vatican City. I couldn’t find a good screen shot, but I read that the scene where the Lambo explodes was filmed in a square inside the palace. I’m pretty sure it’s where the employees park haha. In addition, the main staircase of the palace (you’ll see it in the gallery below) was used in Angels & Demons as the Vatican’s staircase:
I really want to watch these movies now… Anyway, the only thing that I thought wasn’t totally awesome was the throne room. Well, the room itself was nice, with all the gold and what-not, but the throne was so wimpy! I’ve been watching Game of Thrones with that crazy chair made of swords, and this thing just didn’t measure up. You’ll see it in the gallery at the end of this post–it’s the teal one.
The garden is pretty impressive though. It runs from the palace entrance to a 250-foot waterfall three kilometers away. It’s gorgeous too; it was inspired by the park of Versailles, but regarded as much more beautiful. Hopefully some day I’ll be able to judge for myself. We rented bikes to go down and back, which was a very wise choice since it was mostly uphill on the way to the waterfall. Along the way we passed five fountains with sculptures from Roman and Greek mythology. The weather was overcast, so it was perfect for our little cruise–warm, but the sun nor its heat beamed down on us, although we were all still a little sweaty by the time we reached the top…
Here’s some more pictures from both the palace and the garden. They should be in order from the beginning of our tour to the end. Click on a picture to see it bigger and to scroll through.
So that’s the Royal Palace at Caserta! I hope to go back on a sunnier day…maybe for a picnic 🙂