Caserta, Italy? Anyone Been There?

Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 10:57 AM
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Caserta, Italy? Anyone Been There?

For my next trip to Italy I finally hope to visit Caserta, the "Italian Versailles" not the city if there is a city of that name too.

As I cannot recall anyone going there or reporting on it I will ask: Have you been to Caserta and what did you think of it?

I will go there by train from Rome or Salerno. How convenient is the train station to the palace?

The online images of Caserta look nice but pictures don't always portray the majesty of a place - especially one dubbed I believe the Italian Caserta.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 10:58 AM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=case...=1600&bih=1075

Oh the online images that make it look monumental if nothing else.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 11:26 AM
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I haven't been there, but I know many people who have, including my husband. All say that it's spectacular. However, there has been lots of news in Italian newspapers and magazines about a very poor level of maintenance and upkeep.

By the way, Caserta is the name of the city and the province. The royal palace is the Reggia of Caserta.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 11:30 AM
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My grandfather was there -- about 100 years ago.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 11:33 AM
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I have been to Reggia Caserta. Unless there is a compelling reason, it would not be a primary destination in the area. The palace is grandiose if rather empty. The garden is EXTREMELY long and narrow and unless you are willing to walk to the waterfalls at the end of the park, you wait quite a bit wait for a shuttle bus. I might also add that the garden was not well kept.

The train station is practically at the "entrance", but that means a LONG distance from the waterfalls. If you look at the schedule, there are frequent trains from Napoli to Caserta until 9:04am then a 2 hour gap, then frequent trains start from 11:06am. RESIST urge to to take a bus during this time period and wait until the 11:06am train unless you are interested in an anthropological study of the area. I got caught in this interval and chose a bus. What an experience! The first thing is that the bus stop is on the OTHER side of Piazza Garibaldi. For those who have been there, this is an enormous square where you have to traverse several Napolitan traffics. When the bus arrived, the passengers and perhaps equal number of pickpockets ram into the bus to get a chance at my wallet. I used a pre-validated transit card and all my valuables were in money belts, but a pickpocket picked up my decoy wallet with nothing in it nevertheless. The bus offered a study in how people thought about each other. There were immigrant souvenir vendors with displays, confrontational young residents who were hurling obscenities in Napolitan at these vendors, other locals who did not want have anything to do with this, and a helpful local who gave me where to get off in Caserta - the last stop seeing that I was the only non-local on the bus.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 11:33 AM
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I forgot to add that the train station in Caserta is supposed to be a 5-minute walk from the Reggia.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 12:29 PM
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We went to Caserta a few years ago. I agree with the comments about maintenance, but we enjoyed it. We were there in October on a beautiful weekday, and crowds were light, esp. inside the palace. Interior room dimensions are huge and ceilings are high, so take binoculars if you like to see details.

When we were there, shuttle buses (additional cost) ran somewhat infrequently between the palace and the Diana Fountain. I had read in a guidebook that there were horse-drawn carriages also for hire to cover the same distance, but we didn't see any in mid-week late October. There is no shade along the main path, so on a blazing hot day I would take water and wear a hat or use an umbrella for shade.

We drove, so I can't comment on the trains, buses and pickpockets.

We also enjoyed a short wander in Casertavecchia before moving on. There are some castle ruins and nice views from a few points in the town.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 02:42 PM
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We spent a June night in Caserta a few years ago en route to Rome from the Amalfi Coast. We ventured to the palace and gardens for a short time. We didn't feel it was worth the stop at all. The palace seemed so big, cold, and empty that we decided not to go through it. We walked the grounds for a while, but weren't drawn to take the long journey to the fountains. Nothing special. And nothing like Versailles. The restaurant we ate in was full of locals who actively discouraged us from staying to eat. This includes the staff. Wish I could say something positive but really wish we had just added a night to somewhere else.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 06:11 PM
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I've been to Reggia Casserta a few times, and I agree with the previous posters that maintenance is extremely poor there. If it would be REALLY cleaned up, it would rival Versailles easily. The waterfall could really be a wonder if they cleaned up the long walk from the castle. The lagoon leading up to the waterfall could also be great. All in all, the big problem is that the place looks like a disaster.
I have frequently visited Casserta Vecchia, since I go to Naples often. There are a couple of fabulous restaurants there, which are not pretentious, and have very reasonable prices. Casserta Vecchia, as mentioned by Jean, is an interesting place. It is reminiscent of what Casserta looked like two centuries ago.
Also, one last thing. The guy that designed Casserta Vecchia, Vanvitelli, specifically designed it to look similar to Versailles. Herein lies a story I can't believe--Abruptly as you enter, on the right, is a LARGE marble staicase. I have been told, and I have read, that this enormous staircase is carved out of one solid piece of marble. I just cannot believe this!
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 06:28 AM
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Thanks all for your valuable inputs - will still go but have loweed expectations.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 02:51 PM
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It's part of the Campania Artecard 3 day Tutta la Regione card (32€) if you plan to visit other sites too or use transport along the coast.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 11:36 PM
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Is Artecard impacted by the 2015 fare structures? http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ve-1012015.cfm
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Old Dec 25th, 2014, 02:18 AM
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I visited la reggia long ago and was not particularly impressed. But you must know that i am not a fan of all these (good and bad) copies of Versailles with all their similar tapestries, furnitures and paintings. These kind of places get interesting with a very good guide (who knows a lot of the people who lived there in the last centuries), however.
In other words: visit the palace if you are in or around Caserta anyway, but don't waste a whole day in order to get there.
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Old Dec 25th, 2014, 08:38 AM
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A funny story about ReggiaCasserta and Versailles-- There are close to 100 rooms in esch of those palaces, BUT NOT ONE TOILET ROOM in each!!
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Old Dec 25th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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>>>Is Artecard impacted by the 2015 fare structures?
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