The Greek Myth Behind the Fountain at Reggia di Caserta


Reflecting Pools Leading from Reggia di Caserta

If you look at the above picture you can see the hazy palace in the distance. Leading up to the palace is almost two miles of reflecting pools. If you follow these pools, which are decorated with beautiful sculptures, up a slight incline you will come to a beautiful waterfall.

Diana and Actaeon Fountain and The Great Cascade

Now, if you don’t want to walk to this beautiful sight there is a bus that will take you to and from the palace. But, if you want to walk or even jog you can join the others working out or enjoying the sights along the pathway!

Once you get to the waterfall take your time to observe the sculptures and their detail. The one to the left is Actaeon. He is portrayed as a human body with a deer head. Here he is being attacked by a pack of dogs. If you do not know the story of Actaeon I will summarize it for you, but honestly it’s interesting, look it up!

Actaeon was a hunter and ran with other huntsmen. He saw Artemis bathing and looked at her a little longer then he should of. She got pissed off and forbid him to speak, but when his buddies called for him he responded. The goddess’ curse immediately turned Actaeon into a stag. When this happened his hunting dogs attacked, not knowing who he was, and devoured him just like they would any other animal.

Diana at the Great Cascade

On the right is the statue of Diana, which is another name Artemis goes by (see where this is going?). Now after reading my very nice summary (wink, wink) you can understand two things. 1) why this statue has both of their names and 2) why Diana is just standing by and watching this guy get attacked by a pack of dogs. If you zoom in, or when you go see it in person, you will notice that a girl is covering Diana with a robe. This is because Actaeon just caught her bathing in The Great Cascade! As to why there are so many women bathing with her, I don’t really know. If you look up other paintings of Diana bathing she’s always with a band of girls. Maybe it’s her cup of tea, and honestly whatever floats her boat, she’s a goddess and can do what she wants.

If you make your way to the southern part of Italy please pay Reggia di Caserta a visit. When visiting you can see many sculptures like the ones pictured in this post and tour the inside of the palace. When touring the palace you will see the original furnishing that belonged to the King of Naples from the eighteenth century! After touring indoors make sure to venture outside to see the cascades, as well as the gardens!

To read more about Reggia di Caserta and my visit to Italy in 2016 click here.

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