The following are some interesting places north of Naples:
Reggia di Caserta (Caserta Royal Palace)
Smack in the middle of Caseta is a giant palace and elaborate gardens (extending over a mile to the north) modeled after (and, some would argue, more magnificent than) Versailles. The site played the Palace of Naboo in the Star Wars
prequels and the Vatican in Angels and Demons
. The English Garden section features plants from around the world and fake ruins. Also look out for classical music concerts held during the summer and fall. Open every day but Tues 8:30-7:30, park open from 8:30 to 1 hour before sunset (last entry 1 hour before closing). See the official website
and Wikipedia entry
for details. The train station is literally right across the street from the palace; note that the entrance is on the left as you face the palace. €6 for all-inclusive ticket (or €4.20 palace and €2 gardens), free with Artecard
, Corso Pietro Giannone 1, 082-344-8084. Closest parking at 41°04.34'N 14°19.5'E.
Restaurants in Caserta
Roughly listed by price (high to low):
- Antica Hostaria Massa dal 1848 - via mazzini 55, popular restaurant with locals, especially for lunch, near the Reggia recommended by Cadogan, Mangiarozzo, Espresso, TCI, and Frommer's, open 12:30-3 and 7-10:30, closed Sun dinner and 1 week in Aug, 0823-456-527, www.ristorantemassa.it
- Le Colonne - Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
- Via Roma - via roma 21, Frommer's calls it the "best restaurant in town", traditional specialties and local ingredients, 12:30-3 and 7-10:30, 0823-443-629.
- Gli Scacchi - Osterie d'Italia
- Self-service Reggia cafe - Time Out says it isn't bad
- Da Mastrangelo - piazza duomo 5, somewhat less expensive but similar to Massa, recommended by Frommer's and TCI, open 12:30-3 and 7-10:30, 0823-371-410.
- Ristorante Pizzeria L'Oasi - piazza duomo 6, Frommer's recommends as cheap, "no frills" pizza place, 12-3 and 7-11, 0823-622-755.
- Gelateria Alba - Via Carlo Cattaneo 7, rec'd TCI
- La Scimmietta - Piazza Pitesti 9, 082-335-1634, branch of famous Afragola gelateria
Other places to eat near Caserta (apart from Casertavecchia, see below):
- Antica Locanda - in San Leucio di Caserta (NW of Caserta near top of fountain), piazza della Seta 7, 082-330-5444, closed Sun eve, Mon, and most of Aug, www.ristoranteanticalocanda.com, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, ~€22-27.
- #Le Quattro Fontane - in Casagiove (just W of Caserta), via Quartiere Vecchio 60, 082-346-8970, closed Sun dinner, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Gambero Rosso, Osterie d'Italia ~€28.
- Ristorante Il Frantoio Ducale - in Castel Morrone (hill town N of Caserta), via Altieri 50, 082-339-9167, 348-729-6788, closed Tues and much of Aug, rec'd by Mangiarozzo and Osterie d'Italia, ~€30-35.
- Albergo Ristorante La Caveja - in Pietravairano, far N of Caserta, via Santissima Annunziata 10, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Michelin, TCI.
- Ristorante Al Vecchio Mulino - in Teano/Furnolo (a ways N of Caserta near A1; ~1 hr north of Naples), via Boccaladroni 1, 082-388-6291, rec'd by Mangiarozzo and TCI.
- Vairano Patenora: Fortezza Normanna in Villa Cirelli - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI.
An aqueduct extending northeast from the gardens to feed its amazing fountains was erected by Luigi Vanvitelli, the architect of Reggia di Caserta, for his patron, Carlo of Bourbon/Naples (hence the two names: Vanvitelli and Carolino, or "Carolingian"). The most magnificent section is that bridging over Valle di Maddaloni at Ponti della Valle, at approximately 41°3.56'N 14°24.1'E. Read more about it at All About Naples.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Santagatadeigoti03.jpg
Casertavecchia (Old Caserta)
10 km northeast of the modern town is Casertavecchia, a nice hill town with a 12th century cathedral. You can drive there from Caseta, or take ACMS bus 110 from Caserta or Naples' Piazza Garibaldi. The town center is at approximately 41°5.8'N 14°22'E.
Restaurants in Casertavecchia
- Ristorante Il Borgo - via sopra le mura
- La Medioevale - via della valle
- La Taverna dei Falconieri - via della valle
- Da Teresa - via torre 6, recommended by Frommer's (nice view, local specialties including mixed grilled meats and boar, prix fixe offerings); closed Wed, 11:30-3 and 7-mid, 0823-371-270.
- La Tana del Lupo - via lupara
- La Castellana - via torre 4, recommended by Cadogan and Time Out (cheap, offers game, "tris" pasta sampler, innovative soups); closed Thurs 0823-371-230
- Il campanile - via annuziata
- La Rocca di Sant'Andrea - via torre 8, recommended by Cadogan (cheap, open grilled meat, homemade desserts); closed Mon 0827-371-232.
Other Stuff in Casertavecchia
- Della Valle Jappellj - via Tiglio 16, 082-337-1731, their Bianco wine was named one of Slow Food's favorite "everyday wines"
Every Wednesday and Saturday there is a large market with food, housewear, clothing, etc.; see the Mercati section of the Shopping page
for more information.
Capua Amphitheater (Santa Maria Capua Vetere)
The second-biggest Roman amphitheater in Italy (after the Colesseum in Rome), this was where the legendary gladiator (and slave uprising leader) Spartacus first made his name. Tour of Italy
has a nice introduction to the site. You can get there by car, train, or a bus from Caserta (to Piazza Adriano). Open every day but Mon 9-one hour before sunset. Nearby is a Gladiator Museum (every day but Mon 9-7) and Mithraeum (temple to the god of Mithras, fresco of sacrificing a bull, 9-4 by reservation—ask at amphitheater or museum, 0823-798-864).
- Gelateria Paletta d'Oro - via Gran Priorato di Malta, rec'd by TCI
Sant'Agata de' Goti
"Saint Agatha of the Goths" is a beautiful medieval town about 20 minutes north of Caserta, past the aqueduct. Perched on a natural peninsula between two river valleys, the town seems to spring out of evocative cliffs--the view from the bridge over the southern river is a sight to see. A big, free parking lot is at 41°05.3'N 14°30.1'E.
- Azienda Agricola Mustilli - agriturismo and winery in the town center; don't miss a tour of their underground cantine (wine cellar). Vico dei Fiori 20, 082-371-8142 or 329-381-5802. Recommended by Carla Capalbo and Alice (and also this blog post).
I Giardini di Marzo - C.da Traugnano, 333-919-1858, eno-gastronomic "club" with €23-25 all included menu, 2-day reservation required for >= 6 people (rec'd by Alice, TCI)
- La Lanterna dei Goti - Via Riello 262, 338-388-9192, good grilled meats, €20 fixed price menu, closed Tues (rec'd by Alice, TCI)
- Maniero dei Cesari - C.da Verroni, 082-371-6213, good food especially seafood, €35-40 total, closed Mon/Tues (rec'd by Alice), also has rooms
- Gelateria Normanno: Mela Annurca gelato, Via Roma 65, 082-395-3042 (rec'd by Carla Capalbo, Frommer's)
- Ristorante Pizzeria Piazza Duomo - good dishes, wines (rec'd by Carla Capalbo)
Another large town north of Naples, which unfortunately was badly damaged in World War II. However, it still has a number of sites of interest, including Trajan's arch (supposedly grander even than the one in Rome).
- La Pignata - via Torre della Catena 40, 082-432-6182, 347-810-7725, www.ristorantelapignata.com, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Espresso, TCI.
- Taverna Paradiso - via Mario La Vipera 33, 082-442-914, 347-664-0722, www.taverna-paradiso.com, rec'd by Mangiarozzo and Alice.
- Trattoria Masella - in Monte Coppe section of Cerreto Sannita, NW of Benevento, via Pezzalonga 42, 082-486-1975, closed Sun dinner and Thurs, rec'd by Mangiarozzo.
- Cotton Club Osteria - Osterie d'Italia
- Gino e Pina - Gambero Rosso, TCI
- Nunzia - Osterie d'Italia
- Ponte --> Antica Osteria Frangiosa rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
- Pontelandolfo --> La Pignata rec'd by Mangiarozzo
- Gelato: C’era una Volta - via Porta Rufina 33, rec'd Dissapore as one of the top 50 gelaterie in Italy (again in 2015)
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The following places are rec'd as good places to stay in Benevento by Time Out:
- Agriturismo Le Camerelle & La Francesca, both €50 doubles, www.lecamerelle.it and www.agriturismolafrancesca.it both owned by same Barricelli family
- www.laperladelsannio.it/IPrezzi.htm camere singola €30-35, doppia €50-60, tripla €60-70, Suite €80-100
- La Palma House - San Silvestro 25, €55-65 doubles, €70 triple, B&B
- Sentieri Luminosi, Contrada Traugnano 13, Loredana and Enrico, €50
- Campo di Fragole - countryside, 3 bedroom cottage
Alto Casertano (North of Caserta)
- Agriturismo Le Campestre - nice agriturismo north of Caserta ("Alto Casertano)" rec'd by Katie Parla, about ~30 minutes off A1, ~1 hour from Naples
- ...keep on going north and you'll end up just across the border in Lazio, where you can find Montecassino