EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

Reggia di Caserta: The ‘Italian Versailles’ is undergoing a multi-million euro restoration

The royal palace was constructed for Charles of Bourbon, the King of Naples, in the 18th century.
The royal palace was constructed for Charles of Bourbon, the King of Naples, in the 18th century. Copyright Pietro Ricciardi
Copyright Pietro Ricciardi
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
Published on
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The royal palace was constructed for Charles of Bourbon, the King of Naples, in the 18th century.

ADVERTISEMENT

Italy’s Royal Palace of Caserta has been undergoing a multi-stage long-awaited restoration project.

The architectural marvel, dubbed the “Italian Versailles,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the southern city of Naples.

The ambitious restoration project is costly with some €25 million financed by the EU recovery fund.

What is the Reggia di Caserta?

The royal palace was constructed for Charles of Bourbon, the King of Naples, in the 18th century.

Building began in 1752 under chief architect Luigi Vanvitelli, who designed a concoction of Baroque splendour.

The UNESCO designation describes the palace as “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.”

The vast palace contains 1,200 rooms, has a floorspace of 138,000 m2 and is surrounded by 123 hectares of verdant gardens with sculptures, pools, fountains and cascades.

After the unification of Italy at the end of the 19th century, the magnificent property was almost completely abandoned. It was only used occasionally in the following decades, such as for the headquarters of the Allied forces in WWII.

Italy's Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano lauds the beauty of Reggia Caserta

The mammoth restoration of the Reggia di Caserta

Now a museum, the colossal building is in need of comprehensive restoration, from repairing the facades to cleaning up the gardens.

Last year, works were focused on the royal apartments, in particular the Sala di Marte, Sala di Astrea and Sala di Trono.

The wing dates from the 19th century and features a grand staircase that was repaired during the works. The restoration also focused on the 1,400 m2 of flooring painted to imitate marble, 189 items of furniture including four poster beds and the crystal chandeliers.

Work currently in progress is centred on the eastern part of the park and will revive the gardens by replacing dead trees and reinstating seasonal flower beds. The walls, gates and pilasters will also be repaired.

Reggia di Caserta recognised by Michelin guide

The palace has recently won a coveted third star in the renowned Michelin Green Guide to Southern Italy thanks to the impressive restoration efforts.

The accolade also recognised the museum's commitment to visitor service by opening in the evenings and at Christmas.

EU refuses funding for other restoration projects

While the EU recovery fund has contributed to the Reggia di Caserta project, other proposed restorations have been coming up against hurdles.

The allocation of financial support by Italy's current Giorgia Meloni-led government has been raising questions in Brussels.

Italy’s authorities wanted to earmark some of the recovery fund to the refurbishment of Florence’s 1930s arena and to the construction of a new stadium close to Venice.

But the European Commission has refused to release all of the third recovery fund payout of €19 billion until Rome resolves issues of eligibility related to the new structures.

Share this articleComments

You might also like