The history of the Gardens

The synthesis of three centuries of landscape art

 

 

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History

The Royal Garden, designed by Luigi Vanvitelli and inspired by the gardens of the great royal palaces of the time, combines the tradition of the Italian Renaissance garden with the solutions introduced by André Le Nôtre for the gardens of Versailles.

 

parco-parterre

 

You can feel its splendour and its size since after the entrance of the palace, when between the arches of the central gallery, you will notice the gardens extending as far as the eye can see. This is an innovation called “Telescope Effect” and was introduced by Vanvitelli, who designed an huge completely straight avenue starting from Naples and ending at the top of the waterfall situated at the ending part of the Garden of the Royal Palace of Caserta.

The "telescope effect" created by Vanvitelli

The Park covers an area of 120 hectares, with a length of for 3.3km. The water is supplied by the Carolino Aqueduct, which brings it to the pools, fountains and the palace.
The works started with the boundary of the area around the palace, and with the planting of the first plants, started in 1753, together with the construction of the Carolino Aqueduct.
This enormous 120ha garden is only a reduced version of the one that Luigi Vanvitelli had designed: at his death in 1773, the aqueduct was completed, but no fountain had yet been made. After 1773, when Vanvitelli passed away, the works stopped for 4 years.

L. Vanvitelli. Plan of the park by the Declaration of drawings. Naples 1756.

The plan of the Park by the Declaration of drawings. Naples 1756.

La capacità del Vanvitelli di creare illusioni ottiche: la distanza tra la prima fontana (nella parte inferiore della foto), e la parte inferiore della cascata (al centro della foto) sembra essere molto breve, ma in realtà è più di 2 km! – by Pietro Columba.

The optical illusion: the distance between the first fountain(in the bottom of the photo),and the bottom of the waterfall(in the center) seems short,but in fact is over 2km!

Il tempio dorico - by Adalberto Vastano

The Doric Temple at the English Garden

Group of statues of the Diana and Acteon fountain, with a waterfall on the background

Il parco visto dalla parte superiore della cascata. Lo stupefacente "Effetto Cannocchiale" - By xxx

The Park seen from the top of the waterfall. The astonishing "effect telescope"

BELVEDERE E SETA DI SAN LEUCIO

The panorama seen from the square facing the St. Leucio's Belvedere.

san-silvestro-oasi-4

An excursion in the St. Silvestro's Oasis

In 1777 his son Carlo, now director of the works, showed to the new King Ferdinand IV a new project, a reduced version of his father’s design. Indeed, economic difficulties and the needs to complete the works quickly, forced the reduction of the number of fountains in the second part of the Park. However, Luigi Vanvitelli’s design was kept unchanged in the general shape, especially the most prominent thing of its project: the spectacular 3.3km canal of fountains and basins ending with the amazing waterfall.

 

veduta-reggia-vanvitelli-dichiarazione---bonhamsThe original project by Luigi Vanvitelli. The parterre was in rococo style, but  it was no longer made due to lack of funds and because was out of fashion. (Photo Bonhams.com)

 

In 1786, in the eastern part of the Park, started the construction the English Garden, the first example of informal garden in Italy. lt was desired by the queen Maria Carolina, wife to Ferdinand IV,and sister of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France. The English Garden is inspired to an ideal of spontaneous and wild nature, very differently from the rest of the Park based on the layout of the Italian formal gardens.

 

Mappa dei Giardino di CasertaMap of the the main part of the Caserta's Palace Garden

The italian and french formal garden

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The original design of the Park

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The Park after the death of the architect

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Another masterpiece: the Carolino Aqueduct 

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From the formal garden to english garden

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The Belvedere of San Leucio and the San Silvestro's Oasis 

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