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.
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.
Caserta is nowadays also well known for the strong influence of the Camorra, a Mafia-type organization, on the city's economic and social life.
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image taken from http://caserta.snamid.org/ - text taken from wikipedia