There are more palaces in Italy than you likely have days to visit in your travels. However, taking the time to stop by one or more of these beautiful structures is a foray into the rich history and heritage of the Italian people. (This list is a continuation from a previous listing of royal homes and heritage sites.)
Poggio a Caiano, Petraia and Castello
In Florence, the Medicis ruled like kings over such a fine treasure of a city. The family built six homes of terrific size and grandeur around the city and lived and ruled from these locations. Today you can visit Poggio for outdoor theatre and concerts and then take a short drive to visit Castello and Petraia just outside of the town of Castello. The gardens and murals are wonderful in each of the homes.
Palazzo Reale, Piazza del Plebescito
Napes and Southern Italy were run by the Bourbons and Aragonese in the 17th through 19th centuries. Along one side of the building, you’ll find busts of all the leaders from this time recessed into niches. This is all across a courtyard from the semicircular church of St. Francis of Paola.
On the other side of the palace a grand hanging garden was constructed. Originally designed to frame the king’s fleet of ships, today it outlines battleships. Much of the furnishing in the palace is original to the Bourbons and a great deal of reconstruction has been done in recent years. The palace is open daily, Tuesday through Sunday.
Palazzo Reale, Parco della Reggia
In Caserta, King Charles III of Spain created a masterpiece with the help of Luigi Vanvitelli designed to rival the homes of his cousins in Versailles and Escorial. The immense grouping of structures and gardens is located about forty-five minutes south of Naples, but is well worth the trip. The 1200 rooms were the last of the great Italian baroque structures, and every sight is worth seeing from the 116-tiered marble staircase to the fantastic gardens.
Castel del Monte, Fortezza Angioina (Lucera), and Città Vecchia (Bari)
In Apulia, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II build a triad of imposing military structures that together create an impressive collection of formidable palaces. While these buildings are fascinating, they are not furnished and are among the many royal residences that are not open to the public.