Welcome to Caserta!
Updated December, 2015
Caserta, the capital of the Province of Caserta, is located in the Campania region of Italy. It is situated about 36 kilometres (22 mi) north of Naples and approximately 74km from L’Osteria di Antonio.
From Rome, you are looking at a 2hr train ride/car ride to Caserta and a further hour to L’Osteria di Antonio (only by car), in Avellino and so worth the drive!
I was invited by Angela Merolla, a local blogger, to attend a wine and food tasting (‘La strada del Cesanese’ – image above) she organized at L’Osteria di Antonio with the participation of my friends at Corte dei Papi.
As a result, I thought, why not make a day of it. So I booked a room at Royal Caserta for a great price (60.00EUR for a double room) due to its strategic position, basically across the road from the Reggia di Caserta.
Reggia di Caserta
Since I was on the way to Avellino, where L’Osteria di Antonio is located, I decided to stop at Reggia di Caserta (Palace of Caserta) a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the outside I was a little worried as it did look like it needed some extra care, however, once you are inside you will understand the real beauty of this place.
‘In 1734 Charles III (Carlo Borbone), son of Philip V, became King of Naples, a self-governing kingdom that was no longer part of the Spanish realm. He decided in 1750 to build a new royal palace, to rival, and perhaps outdo, the palace of Versailles, as the symbol of the new kingdom.’ Source: Advisory Body Evaluation
Had the Reggia di Caserta been located in another part of Italy, this would be one of the most famous monuments with millions of visitors per year. While many people still visit the Palace, it is not as famous as Versailles or other sites located on the peninsula.
The Palace of Caserta is worth the day trip if nothing else and it really does rival the palace of Versailles and in my very humble opinion, it simply out does it.
What to do?
Reggia di Caserta – starting early is essential, especially on weekends, as the Reggia is often visited by large school trips and groups. My recommendation would be to start the day at 8:30am/9:00am to avoid the line-ups and to really enjoy the empty halls of the palace and to take some great photos of the gardens.
The ticket office advised us that it is best to start the visit from the gardens (they close earlier) and then visit the palace. Allow for about 3-4 hours of your day. For full details on times and ticket prices, visit the following link: Beniculturali Website
Trivia Knowledge: Did you know that the Reggia was used as a set for both Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace setting for Queen Amidala’s royal palace on Naboo and again in the 2002 film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones as Queen Jamilla’s palace! Check out my 15 Hollywood movies filmed in Italy in the last 15 years for a full list of cities where famous movies have been filmed!
Casertavecchia – is certainly worth the visit as well. However a car is recommended since bus times, as with many parts of southern Italy, are sporadic, time tables are not a precise guide and do not bother looking online. It is located 12km from ‘modern Caserta’ and like many hill towns in Italy, the monuments are breathtaking, as are the views. As always, the food is fantastic and here you can expect some of the best Mozzarella di Bufala in Italy!
In 1960, Casertavecchia was designated an Italian National Monument.
Sites worth visiting consist of the church, its bell tower, and the remains of the original castle. Visitors can dine in local pizzerias with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
L’Osteria di Antonio – The owner of the restaurant, Antonio De Stefano, was the chef of a noble family in Italy (as was his father before him). He decided to go back home to Avellino, from Rome, and offer typical Roman dishes by opening his own little Osteria.
All the meats and produce are brought to him fresh daily as he does not believe in storing anything in the freezer (in fact he does not have one!). You might be asking yourself, why go to Avellino for Roman food – well because this place offers some meals that in Rome you can only dream of, away from the hustle and bustle of those terrible tourists traps, with really fresh food, of the highest quality and all at a reasonable price.
I normally do not publicize the restaurants I visit but this was an exception, as it really deserves the attention it is getting, with some of the the loyal customers of this place coming from Sorrento, Naples, Bari and even Rome just for one of Antonio’s signature dishes.
The only way to reach L’Osteria di Antonio is by car, so here is a Google Map link (click to view) from Rome.
Have you been to Caserta? What were your thoughts and experiences during your visit? Please make sure to tell me your story and what you discovered on your trip by leaving a comment below.
How to get there
Using Trenitalia.com, you can get a train ticket from Rome for approximately 25.00EUR with a regional train. Approximately using the high speed train from Rome to Naples and a regional train from Naples to Caserta, however, for the price of approximately 46.00EUR you are better off using the regional trains since the travel time is the same.
With Italo.it you can get from Roma Tiburtina (from Termini Metro Line B) to Napoli Centrale and from there take a regional train to Caserta.
From the Caserta train station, the Reggia is directly opposite, however you will have to head north and cross the street (be careful as no traffic lights) for about 500-600 meters (you will have the Royal Caserta Hotel on your right) and you will see the Reggia once you cross the street to your left.
If traveling by car, I parked at Parcheggio Interrato Carlo III which is just under the Palace. The parking fees as you can see below, are very reasonable. Caserta Parking for 12EUR per day.
From this parking garage, there is a pedestrian walkway that gets you to the garden outside the Palace.
I have created a Google Map (link) so even while on the road you can click the link and it will open your Google Map App, as long as you have a local Data/SIM card.
In short: Take the A1 Motorway from Rome to Naples. Exit Pomigliano/Villa Literno, towards Villa Literno/Aversa, Z.I.Pascarola exit, go straight to the junction Benevento/Caserta/Maddaloni, then go straight to the exit Caserta and follow the directional arrows to the Outlet.