Caserta (pronounced [kaˈzɛrta] or [kaˈsɛrta]) is the capital of the province of Caserta in the Campania region of Italy. It is an important agricultural, commercial and industrial comune and city. Caserta is located on the edge of the Campanian plain at the foot of the Campanian Subapennine mountain range. The city is best known for the Palace of Caserta.
Modern Caserta was established around the defensive tower built in Lombard times by Pando, Prince of Capua. Pando destroyed the original city around 863. The tower is now part of the Palazzo della Prefettura which was once the seat of the counts of Caserta, as well as a royal residence. The original population moved from Casertavecchia (former bishopric seat) to the current site in the 16th century. Casertavecchia was built on the Roman town of Casam Irtam (the name Caserta is a subsequent contraction of Casa(m) Irta(m) meaning “home village located above”).
The city and vicinity were the property of the Acquaviva family who, being pressed by huge debts, sold all the land to the royal family. The royal family then selected Caserta for the construction of their new palace which, being inland, was seen as more defensible than the previous palace fronting the Bay of Naples.
At the end of World War II, the royal palace served as the seat of the Supreme Allied Commander. The first Allied war trial took place here in 1945; German general Anton Dostler was sentenced to death and executed nearby, in Aversa.
Pope Francis visited Caserta on Monday, 28 June 2014, together with a friend named Giovanni Traettino who pastors an evangelical, charismatic/Pentecostal Protestant church. The Pope apologized for the complicity of some Catholics in the persecution of Protestant Pentecostals during the fascist regime in Italy.