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The architecture of the Royal Palace of Caserta

The architecture of the Reggia and the numbers of the palace. Find out how big it really is!

“The Royal Palace, the crowning achievement of Luigi Vanvitelli, anticipated the external appearance of 18th century buildings whilst at the same time representing the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque, from which it adopted all the features needed to create the illusions of multidirectional space”
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July 19 1996, Unesco’s nomination for the World’s Heritage List

The origin

Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli in 1752, the magnificent Royal Palace of Caserta was created to be the core of a new capital city of the kingdom.



The Royal Palace of Caserta own a rectangular plan articulated on factory buildings, facing onto four large inner courtyards. A great portico (optical telescope) is the ideal connection with the park and the waterfall, located at the peak of the scenographic perspective escape thus created.

The great Staircase of Honour connects the lower and the upper floor, and so to the royal apartments. The rooms used by the royal family were redone many times during the century, to reach the so called “homogeneity of the interiors” typical of XVIII century architectural and decorative design,and partly with of the XIX century taste for composite furnishings and tiny objects.

On the upper vestibule in front of the Great Staircase of Honour, you can visit the Palatine Chapel; designed by Vanvitelli even in decorations, it’s certainly the room more than any other shows a clear analogy with the model of Versailles designed by Jules-Hardouin Mansart.

The Court Theatre, located on the western side of the Reggia, is a wonderful example of XVIII century theatre architecture.

The earliest project of the Reggia di Caserta. Note that 4 towers and and the big dome that were never built.

Technical data of the Palace

  • Dimensions LxPXA: 247m x 190m x 36m (42m max);
  • Area of 130.000m2 with 5 floors (excluding two underground floors and 4 courtyards);
  • Volume of 2.000.0000m3 /70million cubic feets (it is the biggest royal palace in the world);
  • 1200 rooms, 1742 windows, 1026 chimneys, 56 stairs;
  • Cost: 6.000.000 of ducats;
  • The Gardens covers an area of 120ha/1.200.000m2 with a length of 3.3km;
  • The complex has a total length of about 4 km (square + palace + park);
  • Considering also the Carolino Aqueduct the total length is almost 40km.
Vanvitelli Dichiarazione Progetti Reggia Di Caserta 300, Royal Palace of Caserta Unofficial

The project of the palace

Read online the original Project of the Palace!

is the Royal Palace of Caserta or Versailles bigger?

The Royal Palace of Caserta is said to be the largest in the world and, therefore, much more so than the Palace of Versailles. But it’s true? Compare the two Palaces.

Overlap of the plans of the two buildings. In red is the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles

THE biggest SQUARE of italy

Aut. Nando Astarita

In 1806, the first one of the 10 years of French domination, Giuseppe Bonaparte decided that the traffic, always increasing, should no longer pass in front of the Palace and that the square was enclosed by a low wall. Therefore he let the Decurionate of the city (municipal council) know that he would have appreciated the construction, at the expense of the Municipality, of the elliptical road already planned by Vanvitelli.
The Decurionate accepted, despite the scarce financial resources, both because the French canceled the expensive taxes on the Caserta’ market, and because he asked, in return, that Caserta become the provincial capital (it will take place in 1818).
Years later, with the return of the Bourbons, King Ferdinand II even thought of enclosing the entire square in front of the Palace with an iron gate.
Therefore, Caserta, as it is today, was born because the gate was no longer built. In fact, if this had happened, the Royal Road to Capua (via Appia) would not have been extended to the piazza del Trivio (piazza Dante) and, consequently, the Corso, the bourgeois raod, the birthplace of most of the urban development of the city.

Salvatore Fergola – “Tournament of Ferdinand II”, 1849

Located into the First hall of Murat, in the Royal Halls

The structure of the Palace

The facade


A sketch by Luigi Vanvitelli

Detail of the facade

A stone in honor of the king Charles of Bourbon

The original model

The four inner courtyards


The Telescope effect


More buildings into one


The internal connections


The Halls


The undergrounds


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