Caserta is an Italian town of 73 068 inhabitants, the capital of the province of the same name in Campania.
It is among the cities decorated with military valor for the war of liberation, awarded the gold medal for civil merit and the bronze medal for military valor for the sacrifices of its populations and for the activity in the partisan struggle during the Second World War. , and is known above all for its imposing Bourbon Palace, which, together with the Royal Belvedere of San Leucio and the Carolino Aqueduct, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
The municipal territory covers an area of the total surface of 56 km².
The city is seamlessly linked from an urbanistic point of view with other important centers of the province, in particular with Marcianise to the south, where most of the industries of the Caserta area are concentrated and with Santa Maria Capua Vetere to the north, where they are present. the Court and the remains of a Roman amphitheater. For some years the municipality of Caserta has been the leader of some initiatives, which include various neighboring municipalities for a total population of about four hundred thousand inhabitants, which aim to agree on a single and homogeneous territorial development plan.
Caserta is located in a strategic position with respect to the major road axes. In particular, it is served by two exits of the A1, one called "Caserta sud", located in the territory of the nearby municipality of Marcianise, and the other called "Caserta nord", located on the border between the municipalities of Casapulla and Casagiove. In the 2013 urban ecosystem classification drawn up by Legambiente, the municipality of Caserta is in 34th place out of 45 provincial capitals with a population of less than 80,000 inhabitants and, overall, reports an index (38.23%) lower than that of all other provincial capitals of Campania.
In the province of Caserta there is the largest flat area in the region and this is also affected by the climate.
The part that goes from the coast to the first mountains surrounding the capital is affected by the beneficial influences of the sea, which are felt especially in winter with mild temperatures and greater humidity. The summer is very long and hot, with a strong accentuation that took place starting from 1998, as in all of peninsular Italy, although a second step occurred with the historic summer of 2003. The wave of heat of August 2007, with over 40 ° recorded at the Caserta meteorological station, in this case, however, with a low rate of humidity due to the falling winds but not dissimilar values were also recorded at the beginning of the second decade of August 2003 and again in July 2015 and August 2017, in the last case with a dew point higher than on previous occasions and extreme physical discomfort.
The winter in the Caserta plain is mild overall, but periods of intense cold cannot be excluded, with sporadically zero lows even in the capital and highs below 7 degrees, despite the heat island of the urban conurbation north of Naples, which greatly affects the thermal averages.
However, the snow index is one of the lowest in Italy and even in Europe, much more negligible than in Italian cities located at the same latitude, such as Bari, which are less rainy. In the present century, the most significant snow episode occurred between 26 and 27 February 2018 but the one that occurred between 30 and 31 December 2014 is not negligible, for more significant accumulations it is necessary to go back to the two-year period 1985-86, although minor episodes there were also in January 2019, March 2002, in March 2005 and in December 2010, while between 16 and 17 December 2010 there were minimum temperatures below -4 ° in the city center and even close to -7 ° in the nearby Grazzanise military airport.
In the hilly hamlets, the average temperatures are slightly lower, especially in the maximum values and snowfalls are a little less rare.
The microclimate of the Matese area is very different from the coast and the Caserta plain. The inland area of the province is in fact characterized by numerous hilly and mountainous reliefs, which have a typically Apennine climate.
The origins of the city trace its origins to the Osci, others to the Samnites. In spite of everything, from the finds that have been found, even in the various hamlets of the town, there is evidence of a past settlement even more backdatable, since in 1990 some tombs from the Samnite era were found in the basement of the Royal Palace; it was therefore a necropolis of the 5th century BC. Around 423 BC. it was completely populated by the Samnites who gave it the name of Calatia. In 211 BC sided against the Romans and in favor of Hannibal. It was condemned to expropriation and centuriation, which means fragmentation of the territory into large plots.
The city was long disputed by the neighboring principalities of Naples, Salerno and Capua, remaining with the latter in 879, under Pandulfo di Capua who was its first count. Until the ninth century Casertavecchia saw a significant increase in its population: the beginning of the Saracen raids pushed the inhabitants of the plain to seek refuge in safer and more defensible mountain places, which led to the transfer of the bishop's seat to the mountain village. Until the twelfth century, the history of Casa Hirta merged with that of the county of Capua, entering the internal struggles between the Lombards, Byzantines and Neapolitans. When the Normans conquered it in 1057, Richard I, count of Aversa, erected it as a county for Roberto di Lauro in 1062. It passed in 1183 to his son Guglielmo and on his death, in 1199, to his son Roberto.
The new conquerors, despite their toughness, brought some order and authority. Alongside a greater development of the population and urban life, the cathedral was built, commissioned by the bishop Rainulfo, the bishop's palace and other important public buildings. The village, passed to the Swabians, experienced its moment of greatest importance, even in the political field, under Count Riccardo di Lauro, of the Sanseverino family, valid advisor and trustee of Frederick II of Swabia. In this period work began on the bell tower and the large cylindrical tower, called "Maschio", coeval of the Federician architecture of Capua was added to the castle.
With the Angevin conquest the county was temporarily entrusted to Federico di Laisalto. Subsequently, King Charles of Anjou confiscated it to assign it to Guglielmo de Beaumont, the French admiral who had saved him with his ship. In 1269, on the death of Belmonte, the county was entrusted to Bertrando del Balzo and in 1283 it passed to Ludovico Roheriis, former executioner of Calabria and then of Terra di Lavoro. In 1294 the city had a new feudal lord, Goffredo Caetani di Sermoneta, brother of Pope Boniface VIII. Then, in 1310 it passed to the Catalan Diego de Lahart, of whom Boccaccio speaks on the sixth day of the Decameron, who arrived in Italy in the wake of Donna Violante of Aragon. The most famous of the Della Ratta counts was Francesco, whose mausoleum was located in the cathedral of Casertavecchia.
In 1508 Caterina della Ratta, she married Andrea Matteo III Acquasveva d'Aragona, from whom, through the eldest branch, the county which had become a principality was inherited by Anna, the last heir of the Acquasveva family, who married in 1618 Francesco Caetani 8th Duke of Sermoneta, the state of Caserta remained in this family until, enormously indebted, they were forced to sell the possessions to the Bourbons of Naples. These, in particular its king Charles III, thought of building the Bourbon palace there, starting from 1750.
The need of the king of Naples to build a new palace had a triple reason. First of all, the king needed to build a residence that was further from the sea than the Royal Palace of Naples, to save himself in case of attack by the French fleet. Secondly, the king had long nurtured the desire to build himself a summer residence for rest. Furthermore, as a third reason, he was moved by a surge of pride and in fact he ordered Vanvitelli to build him a residence that was superior to all other Europeans in terms of beauty, grandeur and majesty. The old Acquaviva garden then became the main nucleus of the current park of the Reggia.
At the end of the 18th century, King Ferdinand IV had a royal residence built in the locality of San Leucio with an adjoining factory used for the production of silk. Next to the Belvedere Palace, with a fascinating Italian garden on the back and a view of the Caserta plain and the Gulf of Naples in front, the king had the San Carlo and San Ferdinando districts built, intended for the workers of the silk factory. The king also issued an edict in which he practically sanctioned the constitution of a sort of perfect society, asking the citizens of San Leucio to abolish all forms of luxury and absolute economic equality. A company that, in the mind of the monarch, should have been self-sufficient, making a living from the production of silk.
After the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy it became the administrative seat of the district of Caserta in the province of Terra di Lavoro, the latter suppressed in 1927 by the Mussolini government and the territory divided into the neighboring provinces. After the surrender of Caserta and the end of the Italian campaign of the Second World War in 1945 it became the provincial capital again, but it was quite devastated; with the building boom, especially in the 1980s, residential districts were born thanks to an extensive construction, but at the same time excessively inhabited areas with few green spaces were created, as in the case of the former Macrico area, an area used by the Italian army and decommissioned in 1984.
At the beginning of the 1990s it became the seat of the Second University of Naples, and in July 1994 the city was the seat of the gala dinner on the occasion of the G7; at the same time, during the waste crisis in Campania, it hosted a landfill in Lo Uttaro. In January 2007, for the first time in the history of the Italian Republic, a Council of Ministers far from Rome was held at the headquarters of the Higher School of the City Public Administration and in particular in the courtyards of the Bourbon palace, for the first time in the history of the Italian Republic.
The Royal Palace of Caserta, or Royal Palace of Caserta, is a historic residence that belonged to the royal family of the Bourbon dynasty of Naples, proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Located in the municipality of Caserta, it is surrounded by a large park in which two sectors are identified: the Italian garden and the English garden. The complex of the royal palace, with its gardens about 2.5 km long, is one of the largest in Europe, and was awarded the title of the most beautiful park in Italy in 2009. On the west side of the palace stands the church of San Francesco di Paola which is part of a complex that was once a convent of the Minimal Friars, founded in 1605 by Andrea Matteo Acquaviva, now a military hospital.
King Ferdinand's utopia of giving life to an autonomous community leaves Caserta the Belvedere of San Leucio, its royal apartments, the Italian garden and the annexed Silk Museum, where it is possible to visit the machinery of the eighteenth century with where silk became famous all over the world, so much so that it came to furnish the White House, Buckingham Palace and the Quirinal Palace.
At 401 meters high there is the ancient Caserta, current Casertavecchia, an entirely medieval village from which you can admire a view of the entire municipality of Caserta. Of great interest are the 11th century Cathedral dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo, the adjoining church of the Annunziata, and the medieval castle with the tower. In the village, September at the Borgo has been held for almost 40 years, a cultural event of national importance.
Despite building speculation, for green areas Caserta is in 21st place in the ranking of Italian provincial capitals with less than 80,000 inhabitants for usable urban green areas, with 13.06 m² / inhabitant, according to the 2013 Urban Ecosystem Report. from Legambiente. This is mainly due to the huge Park of the Reggia, 2.5 km long.
Inside the park there is the Peschiera Grande of the Royal Palace of Caserta. It is an artificial lake built in the Park of the Reggia in the year 1769 by the architect Collecini. The lake, with an islet in the center, is 270 meters long, 105 meters wide and 3.50 meters deep. Between 1769 and 1773, designed for the amusement of King Ferdinand IV, mock land and sea battles were held here with smaller scale ship models. They were also settled in some houses near the sailors' pool with their families; "Liparoti" to be able to organize nautical games. Since 2002 the Radio Controlled "Radio Sailing" Student Sports Games have been held every year.
The Royal Estate of San Silvestro was part, together with San Leucio, of the Royal Park and the English Garden of the "Royal Delights" annexed to the Royal Palace of Caserta. Located north of the monumental complex, it extends over the two contiguous hills of Montemaiulo and Montebriano. The area, of about 76 hectares, was chosen as being particularly suitable for creating a natural scenography for the waterfall that animates, with its waters, the fountains of the Vanvitelliano park. The territories that compose it were purchased after 1750 at different times and then reunited in a single estate which was delimited with a perimeter wall.
The San Silvestro estate, like the other royal sites, was destined for agricultural and hunting activities following the example of the new fashions of rural life widespread in other European courts. In this area the existing crops such as vineyards, olive groves, orchards, vegetable gardens and gardens were preserved, and in some cases increased. Between 1797 and 1801, in the locality of "Parito", the Royal Casino was built under the direction of Collecini, former collaborator of Luigi Vanvitelli, to give refreshment to the King and his entourage during the hunting premises suitable for the different needs of the farm.
On May 13, 1922, the San Silvestro estate, which was part of the real estate of the Crown, passed to the state property and was handed over to the Ministry of Education. After the war, until 1970, the Real Casino housed an antithrachomatous colony and in 1983 the entire site, managed by the provincial administration, passed under the jurisdiction of the Superintendence for Assets AA.AAAA.SS. for the provinces of Caserta (CE) and Benevento (BN). In the last twenty years the Real Casino, which in the past had already undergone various transformations and "embellishment" interventions, has undergone constant vandalism; statues have been stolen, marble from the fireplace has been uprooted and stolen, wall hangings removed, services destroyed, etc.
On 6 February 1993 WWF Italy, after a long period of collaboration with the Superintendence for the protection of the site, obtained from the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Finance the management of the "San Silvestro wood" which has thus become the first "WWF oasis" in the province of Caserta. On 10 April 1994 the oasis was inaugurated and the following day opened to the public through guided tours.
Bordering Piazza Carlo di Borbone and located in front of the headquarters of the faculties of Psychology and Political Studies of the University of Campania 'Luigi Vanvitelli'. The area, previously owned by the Air Force, was acquired by the municipality of Caserta, which transformed it into a large green park. It was named after Maria Carolina of Habsburg, who wanted the English Garden of the Palace to be built and wrote the code of Leucian laws.
Powered by the Caroline Aqueduct, the English Garden is a phenomenon that began around the eighteenth century, leading to the overcoming of the old geometric patterns within the new noble gardens. It was built by John Andrea Graefer and commissioned by Queen Maria Carolina of Habsburg-Lorraine, wife of Ferdinand IV, according to the dictates of the time that saw the so-called "landscape" or "English" garden prevail, underlining the origin British of spaces that are as faithful to nature as possible. John Andrea Graefer's work began in 1786 and allowed the garden to form year after year. Among wild views and dreamlike architectures, it hosts an exceptional variety of exotic plants and seeds identified in Capri, Maiori, Vietri, Salerno, Cava de 'Tirreni, Agnano, Solfatara, Gaeta. Later he was followed by his sons - who took care of the property during the years of the French occupation - Graefer personally took charge of the selection of the botanical species, carrying out numerous inspections on the Campania coasts, and activating a flourishing import business: the first foreign species they arrived from Holland in 1793.
The city hosts a seat of the National School of Administration, located in a wing of the Royal Palace which is accessed via the monumental staircase. In the immediate vicinity of the Palace, in the right hemicycle, there is the Residential and Study Center, a logistic reception facility attached to the School. It is also the seat of the INPS territorial offices, of a detached section of the ordinary court of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, of the justice of the peace and of the Caserta section of the Bar Association, as well as of a delegation of the Automobile Club of Italy and of a seat of the State Archives.
Among the military structures, there is the Armored Troops School of the Italian Army and the "Garibaldi" Bersaglieri Brigade, one of the largest units of the Italian armed forces, is stationed at the same. There is also the "Air Force Specialist School".
The most important health facility in the city is the "Sant'Anna e San Sebastiano" hospital. In addition, the university polyclinic is under construction in the eastern part of the city and will be managed by the Luigi Vanvitelli University of Campania.
Among the city associations there is the cultural association Liberalibri, founded in 2002 and which was considered by the radio broadcast RadioTre Fahrenheit, of 5 August 2013, the largest non-profit bookcrossing association in Italy.
The main city museum center is certainly that of the Royal Palace of Caserta. In addition to the royal apartments and the royal art gallery, it is also possible to visit the Museum of the Opera and the Territory dedicated to the construction of the Palace itself and the permanent exhibition Terrae Motus with a collection of contemporary works inside the Palace.
There are also other museums such as the San Leucio Silk Museum, the "Le Muse" Wax Museum, the Diocesan Museum of Caserta, the Michelangelo Museum, the Adriano Olivetti Dynamic Technology Museum and the Caserta Planetarium.
Finally, various public and private contemporary art galleries have sprung up throughout the city which often host art exhibitions, including international ones.