Reggia di Caserta 'risks closure'

Wed, 04/01/2009 - 04:06
The Royal Palace in Caserta

Caserta's famed Bourbon palace the Reggia di Caserta is in danger of closure due to thousands of euros of debt, the city's architecture superintendent said Tuesday.

Enrico Guglielmo said there was a ''concrete risk'' that the UNESCO-listed building may have to shut down, explaining that there were no funds available for maintenance work at the palace.

''The Reggia currently owes (electricity company) ENEL 500,000 euros that it cannot pay,'' Guglielmo said, adding that the bill mounted up during a recent exhibition.

''Clearly whoever organised the show did not take into account the costs for electricity consumption,'' he said.

The courtyards, vestibules, park and Palatine Chapel of the 18th-century landmark have been featured in several Hollywood movies including George Lucas's second Star Wars trilogy and Mission: Impossible III, where it posed as the Vatican.

Last year it reprised this role in Ron Howard's adaptation of the Dan Brown prequel to the Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, after the Holy See refused permission to shoot scenes in Rome.

The Reggia, created by Bourbon King Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles, became a World Heritage Site in 1997.