Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

entry Sept 2013  update Jan. 2014

Carditello and Cardito

This is part of a series of entries dealing with the co-called 22 Royal Bourbon sites. The properties range from hunting reserves to lavish villas to the grand royal palaces familiar to most who have ever visited Naples. On the right is a list of the sites. Although these two sites, Carditello and Cardito, are listed separately in most sources, they are best dealt with as one.

Royal Palace Naples
Royal Palace Capodimonte
Royal Palace Portici

Royal Palace Caserta
villa d'Elboeuf in Portici
Villa Favorita
Palazzo d'Avalos Procida
Lake Agnano

San Leucio
Casino del Fusaro
Palace at Quisisana
Demanio di Calvi

The following paragraph is from my earlier entry on the hunting lodge (a smaller Royal Palace, really), the building known simply as Carditello:

The Caserta Chamber of Commerce is seeking to acquire for nine million euros the ex-Bourbon hunting lodge known as 'Carditello. The site is located to the south-west of Caserta, midway between the towns of San Tammaso and Casal Principe and is currently in a state of semi-abandonment, although some sources still claim that it houses a “Farming Museum.” The property was acquired in 1745 by Charles III of Bourbon. The hunting lodge, itself, was the work of architect, Francesco Collecini, a student and collaborator of Luigi Vanvitelli. Collecini is better known as the planner of San Leucio, the experimental peasants’ collective near the Caserta Palace. The “Carditello” lodge was one of more than 20 such royal pleasure haunts of the Bourbons of that age, including the more famous ones at Capodimonte and the Astroni, the wildlife reserve and park above Agnano. "Carditello" is in the Volturno plain, an extremely fertile area long known for the production of mozzarella and other agricultural products. Today, the area is a hive of illegal overbuilding. The project to acquire the property presumably aims to incorporate the site into the considerable tourist itinerary that the province of Caserta has to offer, including the Caserta Palace, just a few miles away. (photo credit: Gennaro Mirra)
Debate and struggle over the restoration of Carditello continues. The foundations for the building were laid in 1787 roughly in the center of a vast area original acquired by Charles III of Bourbon. The area was named Cardito, probably from the cardellino, the bird (cardinal). There was a local village named Cardito, today a town of about 20,000 and 15 km SW of the royal lodge, itself. Though most of the area has been severely overbuilt since WWII, in the 1700s, there was nothing really there except land that fit into Charles’ master-plan to develop the entire area between Caserta with its new palace and Naples, the two centers even being joined by a broad highway. Cardito, with Carditello at the center, was to become a vast tract for agriculture, animal breeding and even early industry, somewhat along the lines of San Leucio, the progressive farming and early-industrial collective (also the brain-child of Charles) adjacent to the palace in Caserta. Charles’ plans were expanded by his son, Ferdinand IV. History quickly overtakes plans to build kingdoms “for the ages,” however, and a list of why only some of Charles’ plans came to fruition would include intense friction between the monarchy and the landed gentry, who were alarmed at the monarchy’s plans to convert (through expropriation) their properties into one giant royal collective farm; also there was the great expense (for example, the huge white elephant, the Albergo dei Poveri--that giant royal Poor House in Naples almost broke the bank all by itself); republican revolution in 1799; the Napoleonic Wars; political turmoil in the early 19th century; and the unification of Italy. That’s the short list.

update: Jan 2014. The Carditello property has been acquired by the ministry of cultural affairs. See this link.

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