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Caserta, Campania, Italy

Every once and a while, I like to go back to the sources of much of St. Louis’s architecture. Usually, that means Europe. The palace at Caserta, built outside Naples in the Campania region of Italy, sits right on the edge of the mountains that rise dramatically from the plains around the port city.

A giant esplanade heads up into the mountain, terminating with a sculptural depiction of “Diana and Actaeon” before heading up a steep cascade of water.

It is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled to in the world. St. Louis has several parks that use elements common throughout palace grounds such as Caserta.

The English Garden, to the southeast of the dramatic cascade, is what we in America call a park.

Arranged around carefully contrived vistas that are supposed to look “natural,” our own Forest Park or Tower Grove Park are the direct descendants of the English Gardens of the 18th Century.

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