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Sunday September 20th 2020

Waterloo | 1970

Waterloo film location: Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy
Waterloo film location: the 'Tuileries' palace in 'Paris': Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy

A sumptuous Italian-Russian co-production, with Rod Steiger as a wracked Napoleon and Christopher Plummer as an arrogant Duke of Wellington, about events leading up to, and the fighting of, the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The gigantic battle scenes were filmed near the city of Uzhhorod, toward Mukachevo, in western Ukraine, near the Slovakian border. Here five miles of road had to be built. Trees were planted, farmhouses built, the 'La Haye Sainte' and 'Hougomont' farms and 'La Belle Alliance' inn recreated and, most extraordinarily, two entire hills were bulldozed.

The 'Tuileries', the court of Louis XVIII (Orson Welles) is the Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace, Piazza Carlo III, in Caserta, about 15 miles north of Naples.

You might possibly recognise this lavish marble interior as the ‘Theed Palace’ of Queen Amidala Natalie Portman) on ‘Naboo’ in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

More recently, the palace masqueraded – twice – as the ‘Vatican’, infiltrated by Toms – twice: by Tom Cruise’s crew, in Mission Impossible III and by Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) in Angels And Demons.

The baroque palace, built in 1752, for King Charles III of Naples to rival France’s Versailles, is open to visitors. A regular rail service runs from Naples, and the palace is directly opposite the station at Caserta.