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Caserta: the Royal Palace

If you are planning a trip to Italy, including the South of the country, do not forget to include “Reggia di Caserta” with its splendid park and gardens. During World War II, the soldiers of the US Fifth Army used the palace as a headquarters, and, in April 1945, the Allied forces signed an unconditional surrender with Germany, to end all fighting in Italy, here.
It was created by the Bourbon kings of Naples to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid and it is one of the largest building in Europe built in the eighteenth century. Versailles Palace, not far from Paris was taken by the architect Vanvitelli  as a mode. Both Palaces have the structure of a small city. The king wanted to have a new  royal court and administrative center in a location protected from sea attack.

The palace has a rectangular plan and about 1,200 rooms. The plan included a monumental avenue running 20 kilometres between the palace and Naples, but it was never realized.

As at Versailles, a large aqueduct brings water for the prodigious water displays. The palace was intended to show the power and grandeur of an absolute Bourbon monarchy. The inland location was more defensible than the old Royal Palace in Naples, which fronted the Bay of Naples and was vulnerable to attack from the sea. To provide the King with suitable protection, troop barracks were housed within the palace.

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