We took a day trip down to Caserta to visit the Royal Palace there. Caserta is about 2 hours south of Rome right near Naples. The Palace there was completed in 1780 and was the residence of the Bourbon kings of Naples. It has 1,200 rooms, and is in the shape of a square, with perpendicular corridors intersecting it.
Here's a shot of one of the two enormous staircases you climb to enter into the rooms of the Palace.
A picture of Andrew and Augustin near one of the two marble lions flanking the stairs.
And here's Philomena and mom at the top of the stairs.
The first room we entered into was the room of Mars. The walls are lined with reliefs showing scenes from the Punic Wars.
There's also this painting on the ceiling showing Mars protecting Achilles during his battle with Hector.
Here's a beautiful alabaster basin, complete with two twisting snakes carved into the handles.
This is the throne room.
And here's the throne. Luckily this Palace was not policed as heavily as the one in Madrid. We were allowed to take pictures.
Here's the Royal Nativity Scene. Most of the figures are done out of clay, placed on a bed of cork. They are extremely realistic, although slightly anachronistic. For example you've got the three Kings arriving from the Orient, in the midst of persons depicting the daily life of the time period. All in all though, it was amazing.
Outside the Palace. What do you do when you have one small boy, two big boys, and an empty niche? The two big boys (Alex and I) put the small boy (Augustin) IN the niche.
Next we walked into the park behind the Palace. The park is 120 Hectares (about 290 acres) and contains a magnificent English garden.
Here are some of the statues on the grounds.
And here's the royal fishing pond, used to fish, as well as stage mock naval battles.
After a great day we returned home. However one more sight greeted us on the road. We passed this van that was being towed on a tow truck, with FOUR people inside it! That doesn't happen in the US folks......