CASERTA E BENEVENTO
Giorno 1 e 2
Arrival at the majestic Royal Palace of Caserta, one of the 5 UNESCO sites in the region. The palace was commissioned by Charles II, King of Naples, to crown the desire to have a palace that could be more sumptuous than Versailles. He succeeded. The sumptuous palace is an ideal and original fusion of two other royal residences: the Palace of Versailles of the kings of France and the Madrid palace of the Escorial, headquarters of the Spanish departments.
Beyond the Reggia, the park that surrounds it is fascinating and immense, composed of an Italian garden – in which there are several fountains and the famous Great Waterfall – and the English garden, characterized by thick woods.
The Royal Palace of Caserta is considered the largest royal residence in the world and was built towards the end of the eighteenth century by the will of the King of Naples Carlo di Borbone. The Royal Palace became his favorite residence. Initially designed for Naples, it was moved to Caserta to prevent it from being easily attacked by the sea.
The architect who created it was Luigi Vanvitelli. The new palace was to be a symbol of the new Bourbon state and to display power and grandeur, but also to be efficient and rational. The works lasted years, from 1751 to 1845, although it was inhabited as early as 1780. During these years not only did King Charles of Bourbon die, but also Vanvitelli himself, to whom his son succeeded.
Example of the Italian Baroque, the palace is a complex of 1200 rooms and 1742 windows, 34 stairs, for an area of about 47 thousand m².
The Parco Reale, an integral part of the project presented by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli to the sovereigns, is inspired by the gardens of the great European residences of the time, fusing the Italian tradition of the Renaissance garden with the solutions introduced by André Le Nôtre in Versailles.
The works, with the delimitation of the area and the planting of the first plants, began in 1753, simultaneously with those for the construction of the Carolino Aqueduct, whose waters, from the slopes of Mount Taburno, would have fed the fountains of the royal gardens.
The formal garden, as we can see today, is only partly the realization of what Luigi Vanvitelli had conceived: at his death, in fact, in 1773, the aqueduct had been completed but no fountain had yet been built. The works were completed by his son Carlo (1740-1821), who, although simplifying the paternal project, was faithful to it, preserving the compositional rhythm of the alternation of fountains, water basins, meadows and waterfalls.
Return to the hotel and overnight.
Departure for Benevento: city of mysteries, myths, legends and history. An encounter between reality and fantasy that make the story bewitching. Land of the Samnites, the Lombards and the Romans, it was the latter who called it Maleventum after the Samnites defeated them in the famous battle of the Caudine Forks. It was only after the Romans got the better of it that they renamed it Beneventum, to forget a military defeat that gave birth to an expression (Forche Caudine) still used today to indicate a terrible defeat. Among the legends that are linked to Benevento, the most famous is that of witches or in local dialect “janare” who gathered under a walnut tree near the river Sabato. Witches hover over the city, also giving its name to a famous liqueur. But Benevento is also a city of Roman monuments (Arco di Traiano and Greek Theater), the church of Santa Sofia – Unesco heritage – great wines and excellent gastronomy.
The monumental complex of Santa Sofia includes the church, one of the most important in Lombardy Minor, up to the present day, the bell tower in front of the square, the former monastery with a beautiful cloister, the fountain in the center of the area. It is part of the serial site “Longobardi in Italy: places of power”, including seven places full of architectural, pictorial and sculptural testimonies of Longobard art.
The church of Santa Sofia is one of the most complex and best preserved structures of the period, which still shows important passages from the early medieval painting cycles on the walls.
Still Benevento. The city still has much to offer: The Arch of Trajan is a monument of rare beauty that leaves you astonished not only for its majesty but also because of its excellent state of conservation, or the Roman theater that dates back to the early second century and the Palazzo Paolo V, La rocca dei Rettori, Hortus Conclusu, the Duomo, the Museo del Sannio ..
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