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DIOCESE OF CASERTA (CASERTANA).

Caserta is the capital of the province of that name in Southern Italy, situated in a fertile and pleasant region about twenty miles from Naples. It attained a certain importance under the Lombards and later under the Normans, and the counts of Caserta were once powerful lords in that vicinity. Later it was held as a fief by various noble families, last of all by the Gaetani, who made it over to Charles III of Savoy, King of Naples, by whom it was transformed into a second Versailles. The royal castle, the work of the architect Vanvitelli, is an edifice of great magnificence. Splendid residences were afterwards built in the vicinity by the aristocracy of Naples. It is not known when Caserta became an episcopal see. The first-known bishop was Ranulfo whose election in 1113 was confirmed by Senne, Archbishop of Capua. Other bishops of note were: Andrea (1234), who finished the beautiful belfry of the cathedral ; Secondo (1285) and Azzone (1200), champions of ecclestiastical liberty; Antonio Bernardo della Mirandola (1552), a famous student of Aristotle ; Benedetto Mandina (1594), a zealous promoter of an alliance of Christian princes against the Turks ; the Franciscan, Bonaventura Caballo (1669), renowned for his piety and his preaching. In 1818 Pius VII united this see with that of Caiazzo, but Pius IX made them separate sees. Casetta is a suffragan of Capua, and has a population of 96,800, with 51 parishes, 176 churches and chapels, 267 secular and 38 regular priests, and 7 religious houses of men and 10 of women.


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