There have long been campaigns against the practice across Italy, but they seem to have had little impact. In Rome, the carriages are still use despite a law aimed at removing them being passed back in July 2019.
A horse-drawn carriage in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Caserta. File photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
The Reggia di Caserta, or Royal Palace of Caserta, will no longer allow the carriages to operate within its grounds, following public outrage after the death of a horse as it pulled a carriageload of tourists in the midday sun.
“The horse-drawn carriage service at Reggio di Caserta has ceased,” read a statement issued by the palace's management.
The current arrangement with a company operating the horse-drawn carriages on palace grounds has been terminated and new contracts will not be awarded following the death, Italian media reports.
The carriages used to transport visitors around the large grounds may be replaced with electric golf buggy-style vehicles.
The horse collapsed around midday on August 12th, at the height of the current spell of hot summer weather.
Animal rights campaigners condemned the palace following the death, saying the horse was “killed by heat and fatigue” – though veterinarians said this has not yet been confirmed by post-mortem.
Local prosecutors are reportedly considering pressing charges of animal abuse against the company operating the carriages.
This was just the latest in a string of such incidents across Italian tourist hotspots.
In 2019, a a horse collapsed on the central Via dei Condotti while hauling a botticella, a tourist carriage, while in 2012, a horse collapsed in the sweltering summer heat, and the driver was seen beating the stricken animal before police officers intervened.