Royal Palace of Caserta (Italy)

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Royal Palace of Caserta Italy 18 th century palace

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Images and text: Internet Mozart: Piano Concerto No20 in D minor K466 (2-Romanze) Adriana

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The Royal Palace of Caserta ( Palazzo Reale , also called La Reggia or Reggia d i Caserta ) is a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples. It was the largest palace and one of the largest buildings erected in Europe during the 18th century. In 1997, the Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described in its nomination as " the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque , from which it adopted all the features needed to create the illusions of multidirectional space". The palace was designed and began being built in 1752 by Luigi Vanvitelli and his son, and not considered completed until the Throne Room was finished in 1847. The Royal Palace is rectangular in plan, with four large interior courtyards intersecting at right angles. It covers 45,000 m 2 and its five storeys rise to a height of 36 m. An indication of its scale can be judged from the fact that there are 143 windows on the main facade and the building contains 1,200 rooms and 34 staircases. The building is constructed in brick, the two lower storeys being faced with travertine ashlars. The whole structure is crowned by a central cupola. In front of the main facade is the elliptical parade ground. Inside, there are three octagonal vestibules, aligned on the main axis of the building and acting as fulcrums for the entire complex. The monumental main staircase gives access to the royal apartments, which are decorated and furnished in 18th-century style. The royal palace has more than 40 monumental rooms completely decorated with frescoes (for example, Versailles only counts 22 monumental rooms with frescoes). including two dozen state apartments, a large library, and a theatre modelled after the Teatro San Carlo of Naples. The chapel, inspired by that at Versailles, opens out of the lower vestibule.

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The garden , a typical example of the baroque extension of formal vistas, stretches for 120 ha, partly on hilly terrain. It is inspired by the park of Versailles, but it is commonly regarded as superior in beauty. The park starts from the back façade of the palace, flanking a long alley with artificial fountains and cascades. There is a botanical garden, called "The English Garden," in the upper part designed in the 1780s by Carlo Vanvitelli and the German-born botanist, nurseryman, plantsman-designer John Graefer. The fountains and cascades, each filling a vasca ("basin"), with architecture and hydraulics by Luigi V anvitelli at intervals along a wide straight canal that runs to the horizon, rivalled those at Peterhof outside St. Petersburg. These include: The Fountain of Diana and Actaeon (sculptures by Paolo Persico, Brunelli, Pietro Solari); The Fountain of Venus and Adonis (1770–80); The Fountain of the Dolphins (1773–80); The Fountain of Aeolus; The Fountain of Ceres.

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