The park at the Capodimonte Royal Residence was a watershed in the development of gardens in the Campania region. The avenues radiating through the garden are like a Kingdom of Naples scale model of Versailles. Covering an area of some 134 hectares, the park is planted with 400 different varieties of plant from 108 families and 274 genera.

The story of Capodimonte, an Italian Royal Residence “par excellence”, began almost as soon as Charles of Bourbon acceded to the throne on 10 May 1734. Designed by Ferdinando Sanfelice, it took over a century to complete the palace, and as long again for the various parts of the Bosco wood to reach its final configuration. Sixteen buildings lie within the perimeter wall, emphasizing the park’s use for recreation, hunting and agriculture: residences, farmhouses, artisan workshops, warehouses and churches, as well as fountains and statues, hunting hides, vegetable gardens, orchards and a cemetery, for the Capuchins at their Hermitage. Site visits follow an evocative path that illustrates the key stages of the Reggia and its gardens’ development, meandering through the “Spianato” and “Anglo-Chinese Garden”, the 18th-century Bosco Carolino wood designed by Antonio Canevari (1735-1736) and completed by Ferdinando Fuga (1760-1770), the adjacent 19th-century English-style garden, the “Giardino Torre” tower garden and, last but not least, the natural valleys around the parkland’s perimeter. A large hemicycle onto which an imposing arrangement of five radial avenues was laid is the transitional element from the palace to the park, leading into the woodland full of holm oaks, linden trees, maples, downy oaks and hornbeams. The English-style garden was arranged by Ferdinand I from 1817 onwards. His botanical and stylistic lead was continued by Ferdinand II, under the direction of botanists Giovanni Gussone and Federico Dehnhardt. The green areas spared by the gardens’ 18th-century redevelopment were redesigned and remodelled into slight undulations, its cultivated areas converted into large meadowlands, and scrub woodland into new groves.