A Surprise in Caserta

We met Guy and Terry at 9 to go get our rental car from our friend and started our road trip to Guy’s family’s town, Serino. We got lost a few times. We arrived in Serino about an hour later, parked, and walked around to find not much except for a large number of senior citizens and a fountain of immigrants lacking water. Guy told us that when his great grandfather left Serino, he was one of the first of hundreds to immigrate to the United States. Since Serino is such a small town, it was greatly impacted by the amount of residents that left. 
We got a pastry for the road and decided to explore another part of Campania. My Aunt Fina had told us before the trip about a town called Caserta, so when we recognized its name on the map, we did some research and decided to head over. We really had no idea what to expect and the temperature was 36 degrees Celsius, so we just decided to go along with it since we were already so far on the autostrada. We arrived in the small town of Caserta and found a parking spot behind a bus. With some difficult maneuvers, my Dad parked our blue Ford Fiesta and we noticed a giant Palace behind us. I somehow persuaded the group to go investigate, so we walked about half a mile over a dusty path, without shade, leading to the entrance of this place. The front of the building had incredible shrubbery that was filled with dry weeds and the surroundings just looked runned-down. 

We reluctantly paid the €48 to get in and everyone thanked me at the end! So after experiencing this palace – more elaborate than Versailles – we did our research since we didn’t take a tour. The palace is the largest in the world and was home to Napoletano royalty dating back to who knows when. The palace itself was built in the 1800s and King Ferdinand II and his wife Maria Sophia lived there most recently. The palace was the location that the Germans surrender during World War II and many renown movies were filmed there, including Star Wars and Mission Impossible. In my personal opinion, the art in that palace was some of the most ornate I have ever seen in my life. As we finished seeing maybe 1/10 of the interior (that’s all that we were allowed) we went outside and found an incredible garden that was trimmed and taken care of, unlike its front counterpart. There was a path even longer than the one in the front that appeared to go on infinitely… you guessed it, I chose to walk all the way down it in the blazing sun to go and see the fountain at the end. I got a very nice tan from that… good thing I had a water bottle with me or I wouldn’t have been able to do it. 

After our unexpected sight in Caserta, we drove back to Salerno and decided to let Guy and Terry have dinner on their own. At 8 pm, my dad and I walked to Mama Rosa’s and found Guy and Terry on the street heading towards the same place! We ate together and then sat on their rooftop balcony that night and relaxed until my dad and I went back to our dungeon to sleep. 

A lesson learned from the day: let life take you where it wants. 


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