Belvedere di San Leucio

The Casino Reale de Belvedere, the former summer palace and hunting lodge of the Bourbon kings of Naples, built by King Ferdinand I in 1774 from plans by Luigi Vanvitelli, stands 3 km north-east of Caserta, and 33 km north of Naples. Ferdinand was traumatised by the death of his son and heir in 1778, and developed an aversion to living in the palace, but determined to develop the local community into a centre for silk manufacture that was named Ferdinandopoli. The king employed the architect Francesco Collecini to transform the palace into a silk mill which became the focus of the manufacturing system, housing machines for throwing and twisting silk yarn that was then woven by weavers who lived in nearby terraced houses in the Via Giardini Reali and the Via Vaccheria. Expansion of the community was cut short by the French occupation from 1799, but silk-making continued. A water-powered silk throwing mill was built behind the palace in 1823, and in the 1830s weavers began to use Jacquard looms. Among the features that remain are a huge water wheel and twisting frames with 480 and 720 spindles. San Leucio remains a centre for training programmes in the manufacture and use of silk, and a new museum project is due for completion in 2008. The silk mill buildings and the associated housing form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1997.

Belvedere di San Leucio
81100 Caserta
+39 (0) 823 - 301817