Discover what to see and do in Caserta, the city with the largest Royal Palace in the world! We share with you the best places to visit, events, food delicacies and finest local wines.
We are in Caserta, about half an hour from Naples, in one of the most visited Italian cities, if not European. It is home to the famous Bourbon Royal Palace, the largest royal residence in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, together with Vanvitelli’s aqueduct and the San Leucio Complex.
Built by the great architect Vanvitelli at the behest of Charles III of Bourbon starting in 1752, the Royal Palace has always attracted tourists from all over the world, about a million every year coming to see for its frescoed halls and large green parks with their marvellous water features that leave you breathless. It is no coincidence that the “Reggia di Caserta” was chosen as the location for two scenes in the Star Wars saga: ‘The Phantom Menace’ (1999) and ‘Attack of the Clones’ (2002).
In short, is the Royal Palace enough to visit Caserta? It may be, but once here, there are many wonders to be discovered, including the surroundings… Without forgetting that this city belongs to a region, Campania, which is also famous for its delicious food and wines. Why not take the opportunity?
In this guide you will find everything you need to know about Caserta and its surroundings, what to see and do here, the best itineraries, events and tastings, whether you want to go on a touch-and-go, or spend an entire weekend, or a few days more, in this wonderful area that also offers many activities including sport, nature and wellness.
The good news is that you can visit Caserta at any time of year, although the best periods for day trips remain Autumn and Spring, when the temperate climate spares you from cold or hot temperatures. In particular, the Royal Palace of Caserta should be enjoyed during the spring and summer months to admire the palace gardens with the complicity of the weather.
But let’s go, we are ready to discover Caserta and its wonders! 👇
What to see in Caserta in one day
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If you are wondering what to visit in Caserta in a day or two, here are the main attractions to consider starting with the beautiful Royal palace.
1. The Royal Palace of Caserta. the Royal Palace of the Bourbons of Naples
An architectural marvel in Baroque and Neoclassical style commissioned by the King of Naples, Charles III of Bourbon, as the representative seat of his kingdom. The King chose Caserta for its more sheltered location because Naples could have been attacked from the sea.
Inside the Royal Palace, you can find stunning works of art including paintings, furniture, porcelain, drawings… and about 1200 rooms, including the Royal Apartments decorated with furniture and frescoes, including the splendid rooms of Pius IX and Joachim Murat, who lived here with his wife in the 19th century. Two of the most beautiful interiors are the Palatine Chapel, built and decorated by Vanvitelli, and the Court Theatre modelled on the San Carlo theatre in Naples.
2. Royal Palace Park and the English Garden
The Palace Park, in Renaissance style, but with the characteristics of the French gardens of Versailles, offers an exciting route through natural scenery, fountains, meadows and groves. The greatest attraction, however, are the water games of waterfalls and fountains.
On the eastern side of the park, you can visit the marvellous English Garden, commissioned by Queen Maria Carolina of Habsburg-Lorraine, wife of Ferdinand IV, created in 1875 by the English botanist John Andrew Graefer. The garden contains meadows, woods, fountains, ponds and rare plants from different countries around the world, botanical specimens dating back to the years when the garden was created, planted in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
_ How long does it take to visit the Reggia di Caserta?
We recommend a whole day to spend visiting the Royal Palace + Royal Park.
_ How much does the ticket for the Royal Palace of Caserta cost?
The cost of the ticket to visit the Royal Palace + Royal Park is €14. The ticket includes the Royal Apartments.
Among the persons and entities that may enter free of charge are:
- children under 17 years of age on presentation of their identity card
- guests with disabilities and a member of their family
- school groups, teachers, tour guides and tourist interpreters (EU), Italian and foreign journalists
What to see in Caserta besides the Royal Palace?
3. Royal Belvedere of San Leucio
Worth visiting in Caserta is San Leucio with the Belvedere Monumental Complex (19th century), a former hunting lodge and then a royal residence with an adjoining textile factory.
Today San Leucio is a hamlet of the Royal Palace, a suburb of Caserta. But, in the past (late 18th century), it was a factory-community (Real Colonia Serica di San Leucio) with its own statute, laws and rules, created by King Charles of Bourbon, who wanted to create a community of artisans living and working in the San Leucio silk factory. The village housed workshops, machinery, workers’ houses and schools. The draperies produced here in the past can be found in the Royal Palace of Caserta, in the Quirinale, in the Vatican and even the White House in Washington.
4. The Silk Museum
The Silk Museum of the Royal Belvedere is the palace-museum located within the Belvedere Complex of San Leucio and offers an interesting historical journey to be experienced in the old factories and historical flats of Maria Carolina of Austria and Ferdinand IV of Bourbon.
For almost two centuries, silk fabrics and yarns have been produced in these buildings. Nowadays, this location host the museum where you can see the original machinery, restored or reconstructed for the museum.
What to see in Caserta, if not its oldest quarter? It is called Casertavecchia and it is a medieval village located on the slopes of Mount Tifatini, a few kilometres from the Royal Palace of Caserta, criss-crossed by ancient stone streets, populated by traditional shops and taverns serving local specialities.
Casertavecchia, which has been an Italian National Monument since 1960, is worth a visit because there are some must-see attractions here:
- the cathedral
- the bell tower
- the remains of the Castle, an imposing fortress with a panoramic view of the village
- the small Chapel of San Rocco, unknown to most, built in honour of the town’s patron saint
6. Carolino Aqueduct
Not to be missed a visit to the Acquedotto Carolino, Europe’s longest bridge ever built, an architectural work of Vanvitellian engineering contemporary to the Reggia, and nowadays a World Heritage Site.
The tufa aqueduct with its bridges in the Maddaloni Valley was built to convey water from Mount Taburno (in the province of Benevento) to feed the fountains of the Royal Palace of Caserta and ensure water supply to the residence, park and fountains.
7. Planetarium of Caserta
… An exciting digital journey through time and space aboard a spaceship with a pilot, which takes you to explore the spectacles of the universe while telling its incredible story.
8. Forest of St. Sylvester
Once a royal hunting reserve, the Bosco di San Silvestro is now a WWF environmental centre and oasis in the hills of Monte Maiuolo and Monte Briano. It is a forest of holm oaks with organized trails that belonged to the “Royal Delights”, within the Royal Palace of Caserta. The wood also hides a belvedere over the waterfalls in the Royal Palace. Nowadays, it is recognised as a S.I.C. “Site of European Community Interest” and is included in the UNESCO Site.
9. Cathedral of Caserta (Duomo di San Michele Arcangelo)
The Cathedral of Casertavecchia, also known as the Church of San Michele Arcangelo (1129), is a religious monument to be visited, if only for the great charm of the different architectural styles. From Campania Romanesque to Sicilian Romanesque with Norman, Arab and Byzantine elements, to the early Christian tradition.
Visit Caserta and its surroundings
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There are also places to visit in Caserta in its surroundings. Not far from Casertavecchia, in the locality of Casola is the Hermitage of San Vitalino (VIII), erected in honour of the saint who lived there. It is a small and characteristic rural religious building. Apart from the mystical and relaxing atmosphere, there is a belvedere here that fills the eyes with beauty and leaves one breathless.
A few kilometres from the centre of Caserta, in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, there is the archaeological complex Anfiteatro Capuano, the largest Roman amphitheatre in the world after the Colosseum. The structure also included a building used as a school for gladiators, which has remained in history because in 73 B.C. it was the scene of the revolt led by Spartacus.
At the time we are writing this guide, the site may still be under renovation. However, it is still possible to visit the basement of the arena, the gladiator museum with a reproduction of the Arena. And with the same ticket, at a cost of not even 3 euro, it is possible to visit the Archaeological Museum of Capua, a few hundred metres away.
The Terme di Telese in the surroundings of Caserta are worth a visit. The thermal park, which was built in 1883, is located in the green Telesina Valley about 30 kilometres from Benevento. Since we are in the area, it is worth reaching the lake about 1 km away, in the direction of Solopaca, a famous tourist destination. Other interesting places to visit are the Archaeological Garden and the Rio Grassano Natural Park.
One of the most beautiful villages in Campania is Sant’Agata de’ Goti, in the province of Benevento, called the “pearl of Sannio”. The town is divided into a modern and an older part, which is worth a visit for its characteristic location: it stands on a tuff rock and overlooks the Martorano and Riello rivers. As well as being a precious as a casket of historical, art and architectural treasures worth visiting.
Finally, time permitting, let’s also go to Benevento, known as the “City of Witches”, famous for being the typical open-air museum given the abundance of historical architectural works, such as the Roman Theatre and the Church of Santa Sofia, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What to do in Caserta
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In addition to the things to see in Caserta, there are also many activities to do in and around the city, from strolling to shopping in the streets of the centre, in Corso Trieste, Piazza Dante, and especially in Piazza Luigi Vanvitelli, one of the main squares where you can find city life, shopping, and historical cafés.
Among the best things to do in Caserta, in the evening you can enjoy an aperitif or dinner in one of the typical trattorias of Casertavecchia where you can taste the typical dishes of the territory, which we see shortly.
First, let’s see what the area offers to nature lovers and walkers. In Caserta and the surrounding area, you can experience trekking and hiking in nature, following short routes on foot along ancient paths and mule tracks, including:
- Cipresseta di Fontegreca
- le Comole: descent into the bowels of the earth – Castel Morrone
- Sanctuary of Monte Camino – Rocca d’Evandro
- The path of the medieval villages, from Vairano Patenora to Pietravairano
- Towers and Castle of Maddaloni
- Variconi Oasis – Castel Volturno
- The Fairy Trail
- Ruins Monastery of Monte Santa Croce in Villa Santa Croce
- Monte Petrino, a fortress on the sea – Mondragone
- Secret garden of Sant’Anna in Aquis Vivis – Mondragone
- Pinewood of Baia Domitia
- The Hermitages of Monte Maggiore – Rocchetta and Croce
- Beech wood of Monte Orso – Matese Mountains
- Cave of San Michele in Profeti
- The Gallinola
- Ghost Villages Trail, from Rocciano to Croce
- Hermitage Trail in Formicola
- Lake Matese – Parco d’Amore beech forest
- Limatola – Mount Montagnano
Food and Wine Specialities
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Visit Caserta and lose yourself in its delicacies. Caserta is one of those places that remain in the heart for its typical dishes and products.
How could we not mention the succulent mozzarella di bufala PDO, the ricotta di bufala campana, the tasty Maialino Nero casertano, the chickpea of Teano, the extra virgin olive oil and wines such as Asprinio di Aversa Doc and Falerno del Massico.
For pizza lovers, one of the best Neapolitan pizzas is prepared at Francesco Martucci’s pizzeria “I Masanielli” (in 1st position in the 50 Top Pizza World 2022 ranking).
As for best dishes to taste in Caserta, here are the most representative:
- Menesta ‘mmaretata
- Pettolelle with beans
- Homemade pasta served with cannellini beans
- Black piglet from Caserta
- Campania’s desserts: sfogliatelle, pastiera, babà, struffoli, torta polacca, a typical cake from the province of Caserta.
Events not to be missed
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If you want to follow the events in Caserta, we recommend some taking place between September and December, such as the “Settembre al Borgo” festival, with all the cultural shows, concerts and street food. And the whole series of Christmas events including markets, shows at the Planetarium, the Court Crib at the Royal Palace…
How to get to Caserta
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You can get to Caserta by car, taking the Autostrada del Sole (A1), Rome-Naples motorway or the A3 (Salerno-Reggio Calabria), continuing along the A30 (Caserta-Salerno) motorway, with exit at the Caserta Nord, for those coming from north. Those coming from the south, the exit is Caserta Sud.
If you arrive by car, keep in mind that there is a convenient underground car park in Piazza Carlo di Borbone, in front of the Royal Palace.
You can also reach Caserta by high-speed trains arriving at the Caserta railway station, from where the Royal Palace is only a few minutes away. Finally, by plane, landing at Capodichino Airport in Naples, 24 kilometres away.
Now that you know what to see in and around Caserta, all you have to do is organize your food and wine trip to Campania with Italia Delight! 😉