The Royal Apartments
A home for the Royal Family, a museum for humanity
Luigi Vanvitelli’s project envisaged a clear distribution of the Palace’s rooms between the various members of the royal family. The first floor has been divided into four parts reserved for the king, queen, princes and princesses. The King’s Quarter and the Queen’s Quarter, symmetrical to each other, were accessed from the Upper Vestibule. The second floor was intended for kitchens and servants.
In reality, this floor underwent so many transformations it was later adapted to the needs of their inhabitants. The works in the palace lasted so long that when King Ferdinand IV decided to move in with his wife Maria Carolina, in 1780, the only apartment ready to welcome them was the one designed by Luigi Vanvitelli for the hereditary princes. The space was not sufficient for the large royal family, which consequently also occupied some rooms on the second floor.
Carlo Vanvitelli’s decorations are a harmonious synthesis between the Baroque tradition and the neoclassic taste. Local and international artists worked side by side in the Royal Palace’s large multicultural construction site.
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Murats’ Representative Residence
The Bourbons withdrew to Sicily upon the arrival of Giuseppe Bonaparte in 1806, bringing with them precious furniture and furnishings from the Royal Palace.
The French rulers saw the Royal Palace of Caserta as an opportunity to increase their political prestige therefore they decided to continue the work in the Palace, concentrating on the decoration of the King’s Quarter which had remained unfinished until then. Antonio de Simone was appointed works director and embraced the neoclassical style, much loved in France at the time.
Joachim and Caroline Murat used the Royal Palace of Caserta above all as a representative residence in the time span of 1808 – 1815.
The Bourbons Return Home: The Restoration
Thanks to the Restoration in 1815, the Royal Palace of Caserta was once again a Royal House.
From Ferdinand I to Francis II – the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies’ last regent – the members of the Bourbon dynasty gave new life to the Royal Apartments, which changed their appearance and function based on to the guests who lived there at the time over the years. Above all, Ferdinand II preferred to reside in Caserta, for personal and family’s safety. Almost all of his children were born in Caserta.
Thanks to these stratifications, the guided itinerary through the Royal Apartments is today an evocative journey into the history of Southern Italy.
From the King’s House to Museum
In 1919 Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy ceded the Royal Palace of Caserta to the Italian State. It was the beginning of a long process of enhancement that would transform the royal lodgings into a public museum.
Today the Royal Apartments Museum occupies about half of the noble floor and extends along the King’s Quarter and the Hereditary Princes’ Quarter, in the southern wing.