La Dolce Vita #3: Who needs Versailles when… (part 1)

Royal Palace of Caserta (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples, the Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest royal residence in the world with over 2 million m³ and covers an area of about 47,000 m². The palace has some 1,200 rooms, including two dozen state apartments, a large library, and a theatre modelled after the Teatro San Carlo of Naples. It was inscribed as a world heritage site in 1997: according to the rationale, the palace “whilst cast in the same mould as other 18th century royal establishments, is exceptional for the broad sweep of its design, incorporating not only an imposing palace and park, but also much of the surrounding natural landscape and an ambitious new town laid out according to the urban planning precepts of its time.”

Venaria Reale, Turin (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

The Palace of Venaria is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, included in the UNESCO Heritage List in 1997. One of the most remarkable projects by the architect Filippo Juvarra at the Reggia di Venaria consisted in the construction of the southern wing conceived by Michelangelo Garove. The harmonious proportions and the breadth of these new spaces, the sumptuous stucco decorations, the cornices and pilaster strips of the Gallery, would result in an architectural masterpieces of the 18th century. The Gallery, that connected the apartments of the King to that of the Crown Prince, is one of the most surprising and spectacular spaces of the complex: its magnificent decorations are the work of Pietro Filippo Somasso, Giuseppe Bolina, Antonio Papa and Giovambattista Sanbartolomeo. The size of the Gallery is also remarkable: 15 meters in height at the center of the vault, 80 meters in length and 12 in width. One of the peculiarities of the Great Gallery lies in the splendid light effects created by 44 tall windows and 22 “eyelets” (openings that are oval on the inside, but rectangular on the outside) on the ceiling. The resulting lights and shadows further enhance the rich decorations and the two elaborate exedras at the ends, never failing to inspire awe in all visitors.

Stupinigi Royal Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

The hunting residence of Stupinigi is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in northern Italy, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. It was the preferred building to be used for celebrations and dynastic weddings by members of the House of Savoy. Today the Palace of Stupinigi houses the Museo di Arte e Ammobiliamento, a museum of the arts and furnishings, some original to the palazzina, others brought from the former Savoia residences of Moncalieri and Venaria Reale. Stupinigi has the most important collection of Piedmontese furniture.

Villa d’Este,Tivoli (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

The Villa d’Este is a villa in Tivoli, near Rome, Italy. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it is a fine example of Renaissance architecture and the Italian Renaissance garden.

Royal Palace, Naples

The Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies (1730-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Find the other lists here

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