Just at few kilometres from Reggia Caserta, stands San Leucio complex, also called of “Belvedere” for its stunning view on Vesuvius and the island of Capri.
Here Charles III of di Bourbon, around the half of XVIII century, built an elegant game preserve not far from the Reggia. Few years later his son Ferdinand opened the first textile workshops of the Reign of Naples, with an experimental system of silk manufacture, with expert workers expert that were called “Ciampa Bianca” (white trotter) because of their uniform.
Ferdinand organized everything: from the breeding of silkworms to the final product, spinning, dyeing, and weaving included. The whole production cycle was made inside the citadel, which had laboratories with a lot of different ingenious machines that had to produce the wonderful silks that adorned the most famous palaces of the world.
To control the manufacture of silk, the king had his apartments built near the factories, separated only by a door. But the greatness of Ferdinand does not limit to the productive aspects: he gave a house with a orchard to every family, and he let men and women have a free instruction. He created an independent citadel that had its own law code sanctioning its autonomy and based on values like equality and solidarity
The king choose for the citadel the name “Ferdinandopoli”. Unfortunately it was destroyed when Naples passed under the House of Savoy. The only thing remaining today of that extraordinary and innovative social experiment is the “Museo della seta” (Museum of Silk) in Palazzo del Belvedere, together with the gardens and the Casa del Tessitore (House of the Weaver), an example of a worker’s house going back to the end of the XVIII century. The monumental complex is a must see, like the hamlet of San Leucio where even today live and work silk artisans. Just like two hundred years ago.
Reggia di Caserta
Viale Douhet, 2/a – Caserta
Tel. +39.0823 277468
Complesso Monumentale del Belvedere di San Leucio
Via Atrio Superiore
San Leucio – Caserta