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 gardens feature a huge, aqueduct-fed waterfall and an "English Garden" with fake ruins. Also look out for classical music concerts held during the summer and fall. Open every day but Tues, hours depend on the season. See the official website (Italian only) 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. Ticket prices depend on when you come & what you want to see; free with Artecard, Corso Pietro Giannone 1, 082-344-8084. Closest parking at 41°04.34'N 14°19.5'E.
Restaurants in Caserta
O'Tianiello - just outside the palace gates, bright, open space with slightly fancy versions of traditional dishes, rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (they recommend the pasta with ragù sauce, "timballo" pasta drum, and black squid ink spaghetti), TCI
I Masanielli Francesco Martucci & Sasà Martucci - two pizzerias on either side of the royal palace run by 2 brothers...both are good but Francesco's is the more "established" one, almost identical menus, rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, 2019 Gambero Rosso Pizzerie d'Italia (one of their top 20 pizzerias in the country), does gluten-free too,
Antica Hostaria Massa - 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
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):
#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 (still in 2018)
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.
***Casertavecchia (Old Caserta)
10 km northeast of the modern town is Casertavecchia, a nice but touristy hill town with a 12th century cathedral. You can drive there from Caserta, 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"
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, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, ~€22-27.
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.
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). There are also giant statues of the pre-Roman goddess Mater Matuta in the Museo Campano Capua (Provencial Museum of Capua) in the nearby town of Capua (yes, confusingly there is a "Capua" and "Santa Maria Capua Vetere"), more at Naples LDM
Gelateria Paletta d'Oro - via Gran Priorato di Malta in Capua and Viale del Consiglio D'Europa 65 in S.M. Capua Vetere, rec'd by TCI
places that might be worth checking out in Capua?
Tipo1 Pizza - pizzeria in Capua, good ratings on Google/TripAdvisor
Lepore & Farine - restaurant specializing in pizza in Capua, good ratings on Google/TripAdvisor
Gradivino Wine Club - enoteca in Capua, good ratings on Google/TripAdvisor
L'Oasi del Don - pizzeria in Capua, not many but very good reviews on Google/Tripadvisor (as of 2020)
***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)
Agape Ristorante - rec'd this blog
## in Airola (SE of Sant'Agata): Antovin Pizzeria Ristorante - pizzeria by Alessandro Tirino that also has some other dishes (including a dessert pizza called a "Pizzeppola", a bit of a cross between a pizza and a cream-filled zeppola), rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (they recommend the Caprese [mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil] pizza in summer, and the Contadina [fior di latte, porchetta, potatoes] in winter), 2019 Gambero Rosso Pizzerie d'Italia, Luciano Pignataro, this Italian blog gives more details and gushes about the pizzeppola, also has gluten-free pizzas!
The Caserta region is known for its mozzarella cheese, which is a bit saltier than the versions grown south of Naples near Paestum.
Scatti di Gusto has a list of their favorite caseifici (dairies) in the area
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 even grander than the one in Rome).
Ristorante Nunzia - rec'd in Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2021
Gelato: C’era una Volta - via Porta Rufina 33 (moved in 2020 to Piazza Castello 1?), rec'd Dissapore as one of the top 100 gelaterie in Italy (again in 2015, again in 2017), also rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020
were rec'd but not sure now:
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 - was in Osterie d'Italia, not anymore as of 2021
Gino e Pina - Gambero Rosso, TCI
Nunzia - Osterie d'Italia
Other places in Benevento province:
Molinara - 30-40 min northeast of Benevento, looks like a small/old hill town
Ristorante Pizzeria Al Borgo - rec'd 2021 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, looks pretty rustic
San Giorgio del Sannio - 15-20 min south of Benevento
Ceppaloni - 20 min south of Benevento
La Buca dei Ladroni - rec'd 2021 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, name translates as "den of thieves", looks like rustic but nice food
Airolo (west of Benevento): Antovin - pizza rec'd 2021 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
Cerreto Sannita (way NW of Benevento): Masella - rec'd 2021 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
...also check out the Eastern Campania page (northern parts of Irpino, like Ariano Irpino, are not far from Benevento)
in Puglianello (pretty far north/west, near the Alto Casertano): Il Foro dei Baroni - rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia(not anymore as of 2021)
in Ponte - Antica Osteria Frangiosa rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Osterie d'Italia (not anymore as of 2021), Espresso
Alto Casertano (North of Caserta)
This somewhat mountainous area north of Caserta has beautiful nature and hearty food (including Mozzarella di Buffala that is at least as good as—and a bit saltier than—that made near Paestum in Southern Campania). Italy Magazine has a nice introduction.
town with a few Roman (and pre-Roman) ruins, Lombard castle, and good food, ~30 min N of Caserta, ~1 hour N of Napoli
###Pepe in Grani Pizzeria - Vicolo S. Giovanni Battista 3, rec'd by Katie Parla, 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia; a Food & Wine article about this places has the title "This Might be the Greatest Pizza in the World", 2019 Gambero Rosso Pizzerie d'Italia names it their best (Naples-style) pizzeria in all of Italy [according to TripAdvisor, they do gluten-free pizzas but need to be reserved 1-2 days in advance and they aren't all that great]
Il Generale - rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
Antica Osteria Pizzeria Stefano Pepe - rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
Il Casolare Cheese - in Alvignano (N of Caiazzo)
Élite Rossi pizzeria - in Alvignano (N of Caiazzo), rec'd 2018 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
Luciano Pignataro's list of gluten-free pizzerias in Caserta province