An evening stroll in Caserta vecchia

Caserta Vecchia, ItalyI recently traveled down to visit the spectacular Reggia di Caserta, just outside of Naples in Italy’s Campagna region. You can see my earlier post about the splendid gardens that surround the former Bourbon family palace.

Following that visit and before the drive back, we decided to stop off for an evening stroll in Caserta vecchia – Caserta’s old town.

In most of Italy’s towns, the old and new towns are attached, but this isn’t the case in Caserta and Caserta Vecchia.

Caserta Vecchia, ItalyIn this case, the ‘new’ town was moved to the plain instead of the strategic location perched on the Tifatini Mountain where the old, medieval center was built.

It should be an easy 10 km drive from Caserta to Caserta Vecchia on a good road (a superstrada).

We managed to get lost and take the curving, windy and potholed donkey route in the dark up to this medieval fortress.

Caserta Vecchia, ItalyStill, it was well worth the trip to visit this perfect little medieval town. The first mentions of this town come from 861 A.D., at the time called Casam Irtam in Latin (meaning village located up high), back when it originally belonged to the Longobards.

This mountain perch grew at the time of the Saracen invasions in the plains below, when many would flee to this mountain outpost for safety.

Caserta Vecchia, ItalyIt was during this period that the beautiful cathedral was built – the splendid, medieval Duomo di San Michele Arcangelo. Work on this cathedral began in 1129.

The city’s importance would diminish in later years when the Bourbon family decided to develop ‘modern’ Caserta, where the Reggia was constructed.

Still, this medieval gem is worth a visit during your time in Campagna.

Just be sure to avoid the donkey path on your way up – unless you’re looking to replicate the authentic medieval travel experience…

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