Palaces of the House of Savoy in and around Turin, Italy

Palaces of the House of Savoy in Turin, Italy – overview

Villa della Regina, a Baroque gem in the hills of Turin

La Villa della Regina, a beautiful seventeenth-century villa, was for centuries the residence of many queens of the Savoy dynasty, starting with Maurizio di Savoia’s wife, Ludovica. It is thanks to their illustrious mistresses that the villa owes its name.

The villa is situated on the hill of Turin, designed by Ascanio Vitozzi, who in 1615 was commissioned by Maurizio of Savoy, brother of Amadeo I; after Vitozzi’s death the construction was continued by Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte. According to the first original project, the villa was to take the form of a luxurious country residence with large vineyards. The first name of the villa was “Villa Ludovica,” precisely because it became the personal residence of Louisa of Savoy. At the time, Maurizio of Savoy held meetings of scholars and intellectuals in the villa, during which art, science, philosophy and mathematics were discussed in different rooms. After the death of Louisa of Savoy, in 1692, the complex became the residence of Queen Anne-Marie of Orleans, wife of Vittorio Amedeo II, who liked to spend time at the villa and in particular to oversee the education of his children.

In 1868 Vittorio Emanuele II gave the residence to the Institute of the Daughters of the Military. Unfortunately the building was badly damaged by bombardments during the Second World War and then fell into disrepair. In 1994 the villa became the property of the State Artistic Heritage and this gave rise to a project to restore and restore it. Today the Queen’s Castle in Turin is open to the public and inside the charming seventeenth century Baroque building you can see many paintings by artists such as Daniel Seiter and Giovanni Battista Crostata. Of particular beauty are the beautiful Chinese wood cabinets finished in lacquer and gilding. At the back of the building is a beautiful Italian garden in the shape of an amphitheatre, inside which is located the pavilion of Solinghi, a two-storey pagoda-shaped building where meetings of the Academy of Solinghi took place, a kind of intellectual club founded by Maurizio di Savoia mentioned earlier.

Translation from Italian by Adriana Cernei for News Events Turin

Strada S. Margherita, 79 – 10131 Torino

Visiting hours: From 1st March to 30th November (summer season) From Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00 to 17.00

From December 1 to February 28 (winter season) Tuesday through Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm Monday closed.

We are often asked ” What to see in Turin “

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Residences of the Royal House of Savoy (Turin and surroundings)

A group of exceptional architectural masterpieces of Turin and its surroundings, represented by many palaces, country residences and hunting houses of members of the Savoy dynasty, in the creation of which the best architects and artists of their time were involved.

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Country: Italy City: Turin Category: Architecture

The splendid residences of the House of Savoy in and around Turin still vividly illustrate the power and majesty of this ancient family, whose members ruled the land until 1946. The history of these architectural ensembles, which include the Royal Palace, as well as a large number of country residences and many hunting lodges, dates back to 1562, when Duke Emmanuel Filiberté made the city of Turin the capital of the Savoyard estates. The construction of new residences in the city and its rural surroundings began at the same time, with the help of the leading architects and artists of the time. Since 1997, the residences of members of the Savoy dynasty in Turin and its surroundings were added to the list of protected cultural sites of World Heritage UNESCO.

The most significant complexes, as part of the protected site, are: The Royal Palace of Turin, the palace complex of Palazzo Madama, the residence of Palazzo Carignano, Valentino Castle, the country castle in the locality of Raccoonigi, the castle in suburban Moncalieri and the hunting residence of Stupinigi, sprawling in the outskirts of Turin. The Royal Palace of Turin, which is a striking example of Baroque architecture, was erected in the XVII century by di Castellmonte, and its first hostess was the French Princess Christina Maria Bourbon. The Palazzo Madama of Turin was erected on the site of an ancient Roman encampment and is a gloomy medieval castle whose facade is an example of strict Northern Italian Baroque. Palazzo Carignano, built in the second half of the seventeenth century, was the responsibility of the priest Gvarino Gvarini. The building of this residence is notable for its convex façade reminiscent of the works of the famous Francesco Borromini. Castel Valentino, named after the nearby Church of St Valentine, now houses the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Turin.

On the outskirts of Turin, near the town of Cuneo, rises the Castle of Raccoonigi, whose present building was built in the seventeenth century under the direction of the same Gvarini. It is here, at the very beginning of the twentieth century, the last Italian monarch, Umberto II, was born and ruled the country for only thirty-three days. Of particular interest is the local regular park, the creation of which is attributed to the famous André Lehnotre. The castle of Montcalieri, which belonged to Princess Yolanda of Savoy, is famous for being the place of death of the Sardinian kings Victor Emmanuel I and Victor Amadeus III. As for the Stupinigi hunting lodge, built by Filippo Juvarre in the XVIII century near the town of Nicolino, today it houses the exhibitions of the Museum of Arts and Crafts.

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The Venaria Reale: the palace residence of the Savoy dynasty

The royal palace of the Venaria was designed by the architect Amedeo di Castellamonte. It was commissioned by Duke Charles Emmanuel II, who wanted to have a hunting residence in the heath of this part of Piedmont. In 1699 and 1713 the project was redesigned by the architect Michelangelo Garowe. The Italian garden, typical of the 17th century, was removed and the palace was rebuilt in the French style. In 1998, the restoration of the palace complex began, which lasted 10 years. The Venaria reopened to the public in 2007.

The palace is one of the world’s most beautiful examples of European Baroque (the seventeenth-century Diana Hall, the elegant Grand Gallery with music composed especially for it by Bryon Eno; the 18th-century solemn chapel of Sant’Uberto by Filippo Juvarra; the sets of the film “Peopling Castles” by Peter Greenaway shot to show scenes of court life in this palace).

The scale of the palace is impressive: after passing through the entrance gate of the garden, you find yourself in the front courtyard, in the center of which there was a fountain. On the right is the white plastered facade of the palace, decorated with cornucopias, shells and fruit, which contrasts with the austerity of the red brick part of the building, which was built in the 18th century.

Photo © MIBAC – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali

The heart of Palazzo Diana is the central hall of the same name, which is accessed from the main courtyard of the complex.

The quadrangular hall is decorated with moldings and allegorical images related to the hunt. On the vertical plane, Diana Hall can be divided into three tiers of decoration: the vault is decorated with frescoes depicting Olympus, Zeus and Diana by Jan Miel; then the view descends to ten huge equestrian portraits of dukes painted by court artists at different times; and finally, the lower tier features ten paintings by Jan Miel, all with hunting themes (deer, hare, bear, fox, boar, etc.).

Diana Gallery

The left part of the palace complex is represented by two towers with mansards covered with multicolored hexagonal tiles, connected to each other by the Great Gallery (also called “Diana Gallery”). It is a true masterpiece of 18th-century architecture, the harmony of its space being accentuated by the lavish interior decoration which further enhances the effect. The Gallery has 15 meters high ceilings, 80 meters long and 12 meters wide. The gallery is completely filled with the light of the 44 huge windows and 22 portholes, square on the outside and oval on the inside, arranged under the arch. The play of light on the decorative elements and the two exedra make a lasting impression on visitors.

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Sant’Uberto Chapel

Photo © MIBAC – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali

Another masterpiece by Filippo Juvarra is the Chapel of Sant’Uberto, named after the patron saint of hunters.

It was built by Victor Amadeus II in 1716-1729. The spatial structure of the chapel is a Greek cross with two large altars on either side of the transept and four round chapels on the inside and polyhedral on the outside on its diagonals.

The play of light in the opulent furnishings makes its interior unique. But the main treasure of the chapel is its main altar by Giovanni Baratta: it seems to float in the air on pillars of light behind the monstrance supported by marble angels. The altar is visually directed upward, positioned between the two central columns of the apse. The light coming from the stained glass windows at the back of the altar makes a fanciful effect.

The stables of the Juvarra

Venaria Reale, Stables of Juvarra © Toni Spagone / Realy

The Scuderia Grande Juvarriana, or Great Stables of Juvarra, is one of the most massive buildings of this complex and of the entire European Baroque. It is usually the end of a visit to the Venaria, organized as the “Theater of History and the Splendor of the House of Savoy” tour.

Park of the Venaria and the Giuseppe Penone flowing sculpture garden

In the large park of Venaria there is a magnificent Italian garden, whose space is organized by rows of trees and hedges, sculptures of plants, ponds of regular geometric shapes, fountains and statues.

Giuseppe Penone’s flowing sculpture garden covers about three hectares. It features bronze trees, fountains and groves: it is a model of the “garden of fountains” conceived by Amedeo di Castellamonte during the first design of the residence. There are fourteen sensory installations (2003-2007) made of different materials (wood, marble, water, bronze, natural stone, granite) which continuously flow into each other, allegorically demonstrating the relationship between the worlds of man, plants and stones. The installations were created in collaboration with the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Garden of Flowing Sculptures is located in the lower part of the Park, which was destroyed at the beginning of the XVIII century. During the restoration work, the underground communications of the palace complex were laid here. It was decided to reconstruct the model of the old garden, and to add sculptures and modern art elements to the plants.

Opening hours Tuesday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday and public holidays: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Address Piazza della Repubblica, 4 – 10078 Venaria Reale Tel: +39 0114992333 Mail: [email protected]

The Venaria Reale: the palace residence of the Savoy dynasty

The Venaria Reale is a grand palace complex near Turin. The building has an area of about 80,000 m and the adjoining garden 60 ha. Another 3,000 hectares are occupied by La Mandria Park, a masterpiece of garden and landscape architecture that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

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The royal palace of the Venaria was designed by the architect Amedeo di Castellamonte. It was commissioned by Duke Charles Emmanuel II, who wanted to have a hunting residence in the heath of this part of Piedmont. In 1699 and 1713 the project was redesigned by the architect Michelangelo Garowe. The Italian garden, typical of the 17th century, was removed and the palace was rebuilt in the French style. In 1998, the restoration of the palace complex began, which lasted 10 years. The Venaria reopened to the public in 2007.

The palace is one of the world’s most beautiful examples of European Baroque (the seventeenth-century Diana Hall, the elegant Grand Gallery with music composed especially for it by Bryon Eno; the 18th-century solemn chapel of Sant’Uberto by Filippo Juvarra; the sets of the film “Peopling Castles” by Peter Greenaway shot to show scenes of court life in this palace).

The scale of the palace is impressive: after passing through the entrance gate of the garden, you find yourself in the front courtyard, in the center of which there was a fountain. On the right is the white plastered facade of the palace, decorated with cornucopias, shells and fruit, which contrasts with the austerity of the red brick part of the building, which was built in the 18th century.

Diana Hall

Photo © MIBAC – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali

The heart of Palazzo Diana is the central hall of the same name, which is accessed from the main courtyard of the complex.

The quadrangular hall is decorated with moldings and allegorical images related to the hunt. On the vertical plane, Diana Hall can be divided into three tiers of decoration: the vault is decorated with frescoes depicting Olympus, Zeus and Diana by Jan Miel; then the view descends to ten huge equestrian portraits of dukes painted by court artists at different times; and finally, the lower tier features ten paintings by Jan Miel, all with hunting themes (deer, hare, bear, fox, boar, etc.).

Diana Gallery

The left part of the palace complex is represented by two towers with mansards covered with multicolored hexagonal tiles, connected to each other by the Great Gallery (also called “Diana Gallery”). It is a true masterpiece of 18th-century architecture, the harmony of its space being accentuated by the lavish interior decoration which further enhances the effect. The Gallery has 15 meters high ceilings, 80 meters long and 12 meters wide. The gallery is completely filled with the light of the 44 huge windows and 22 portholes, square on the outside and oval on the inside, arranged under the arch. The play of light on the decorative elements and the two exedra make a lasting impression on visitors.

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Sant’Uberto Chapel

Photo © MIBAC – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali

Another masterpiece by Filippo Juvarra is the Chapel of Sant’Uberto, named after the patron saint of hunters.

It was built by Victor Amadeus II in 1716-1729. The spatial structure of the chapel is a Greek cross with two large altars on either side of the transept and four round chapels on the inside and polyhedral on the outside on its diagonals.

The play of light in the opulent furnishings makes its interior unique. But the main treasure of the chapel is its main altar by Giovanni Baratta: it seems to float in the air on pillars of light behind the monstrance supported by marble angels. The altar is visually directed upward, positioned between the two central columns of the apse. The light coming from the stained glass windows at the back of the altar makes a fanciful effect.

The stables of the Juvarra

Venaria Reale, Stables of Juvarra © Toni Spagone / Realy

The Scuderia Grande Juvarriana, or Great Stables of Juvarra, is one of the most massive buildings of this complex and of the entire European Baroque. It is usually the end of a visit to the Venaria, organized as the “Theater of History and the Splendor of the House of Savoy” tour.

Park of the Venaria and the Giuseppe Penone flowing sculpture garden

In the large park of Venaria there is a magnificent Italian garden, whose space is organized by rows of trees and hedges, sculptures of plants, ponds of regular geometric shapes, fountains and statues.

Giuseppe Penone’s flowing sculpture garden covers about three hectares. It features bronze trees, fountains and groves: it is a model of the “garden of fountains” conceived by Amedeo di Castellamonte during the first design of the residence. There are fourteen sensory installations (2003-2007) made of different materials (wood, marble, water, bronze, natural stone, granite) which continuously flow into each other, allegorically demonstrating the relationship between the worlds of man, plants and stones. The installations were created in collaboration with the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Garden of Flowing Sculptures is located in the lower part of the Park, which was destroyed at the beginning of the XVIII century. During the restoration work, the underground communications of the palace complex were laid here. It was decided to reconstruct the model of the old garden, and to add sculptures and modern art elements to the plants.

Opening hours Tuesday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday and public holidays: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Address Piazza della Repubblica, 4 – 10078 Venaria Reale Tel: +39 0114992333 Mail: [email protected]

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