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main index    © Jeff Matthews        entry Sept 2013

Torcino
This painting is by Phillip J. Hackert and shows the Torcino
Royal Bridge(built by Charles III) on the premises of the
Royal Hunting Ground. The painting is dated 1786.

Some sources reference this site by the name of a nearby town, Capriati a Volturno, but the full name was the Real Tenuta di caccia e pesca di Torcino a Ciorlano—the Torcino a Ciorlano Royal Grounds for Hunting and Fishing. It is in the hills above the Volturno valley about 70 km north of Naples and about 45 km northwest of Caserta, a very short distance SE of the town of Venafro. (Don't worry, you will get lost. No, wait. Worry.) Part of this former royal hunting reserve is today a well-maintained estate functioning primarily as an agriturismo— that is, a rural guest house. It is of considerable natural beauty, including its so-called “Swan Lake.” Today, if you want to visit it, find the town of Venafro and then ask for the Torcino Estate or, in Italian, the Tenuta Torcino. The estate covers 375 hectares (925 acres). The holding was one of the 22 Royal Bourbon sites (graphic, below)—that is, personal property of the king.

The complete list of Royal Bourbon sites                     
Royal Palace Naples
Royal Palace Capodimonte
Royal Palace Portici

villa d'Elboeuf in Portici
Villa Favorita
Palazzo d'Avalos Procida
Lake Agnano
Astroni
Torcino
Cardito
 
Carditello
Persano
Maddaloni
Caiazzo
Sant'Arcangelo
Licola
San Leucio
Casino del Fusaro
Palace at Quisisana
Falciano
Demanio di Calvi

The area, itself has an ancient Samnite and then Roman history with items of archaeological interest from both of those civilizations found at various sites. Most of the area passed through the middle ages in the hands of a succession of feudal lords. The Torcino Royal Hunting Ground was set up by Charles III of Bourbon in 1738. His son, Ferdinand IV, then expanded the property considerably. He and his guests then stayed at what is still called the Royal Palace of Venafro, a residence fit enough for a king to be purchased from the Coppa family by Ferdinand in 1771 as his residence and hunting lodge. (The building and purchase are mentioned in Salvatore Palermo Notizie del Bello, dell’Antico e del Curioso che contengono le Ville Reali, by Salvatore Palermo, pub. Napoli 1792). That building still stands, but barely, and should not be visited unless restoration is undertaken. Recent photos show the building to be completely dilapidated. The area was a zone of martial law, fierce civil unrest and "banditry" in the 1860s following the unification of Italy and was much later subject to ferocious fighting and bombardments in WWII.


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