The Reggia of Venaria Reale represents an architectural complex of unique beauty, which has been subject over the centuries to numerous modifications. The complex is very extended, and is made up of a single body, which corresponds to the city village, the garden, and the wood, lately known as the Mandria park.
The first project was ordered by king Carlo Emanuele II, toward the half of the XV century. There were two factors behind the choice of this place: one was the possibility to complete the so called “Corona delle Delizia” (the ring of residences surrounding Turin), the other was the fact that this area had been for almost a century the favourite hunting spot of the royal family.
The project was impressive: an entire village had to be dismantled in order to leave space to the Reggia. The plan of the architect Amedeo di Castellammonte included the Old Town, the Royal Palace (complete with chapels, riding-ground, stables), the garden and the wood, lately known as the Parco della Mandria, the actual area where shooting parties took place.
The Reggia represents the main building and the central point of the whole complex. It underwent continuous modifications to suit the needs of the owner of the hour, or to face the numerous sacks and destructions which it was subject to. In particular the 18th century saw a massive enlargement of the residence, as a consequence of the Savoy's expansionist aims. The garden was also remodelled according to the taste of the age.
The coming of Napoleon marked the end of the Reggia splendour, since the emperor did not choose it as one of his favourite imperial abodes, causing the decline of Venaria, which suffered numerous sacks, before being converted into barracks after the fall of the Empire. This remained the function of Venaria until the end of the XX century when finally in 1999 some huge restoration and repair works began.
Venaria’s gardens were destroyed in the 19th century. This was a very bad loss, especially considering the role of the gardens respect to the complex as a whole: in the XVII century, in fact, in all aristocratic villas gardens represented an integral part of the seigniorial architecture, and they were designed together with the residence and its facilities (chapels, riding-ground, stables), in a way that the interior lines continued along the outer axis of the boulevards.
The restoration of the Reggia implied difficult choices in terms of reconstruction of the gardens. It was finally decided to create brand new gardens, which would respect the pre-existing remains, and at the same time would blend with the harmony of the entire architectural body. The contemporary art installations (trees, huge trunks, marble and bronze fountains) were made by Giuseppe Perone. Today the gardens host important events.
Parco della Mandria (Mandria park)
The park represents one of the major regional parks of Piedmont. The estate has a surface of 3000 hectares, bordered with 35 km belt walls, where numerous specimen of animals live, often in wild state. At the end of the 16th century the area had already been chosen as hunting territory by the Savoy family and as a place to breed pure horses, used in the shooting parties. The park followed the ups and downs of the Reggia, living its golden period after the Napoleonic age, when king Vittorio Emanuele II took over the territory and ordered the enlargement of the 18th century castle. He also built the Rubbianetta, a farm-house for equestrian breeding. Inside the park there are numerous prestigious constructions, among which are Villa ai Laghi (built near the three small lakes) and the Bizzarria, a very weird construction.
Borgo antico - Old Village
The old village represents today Venaria's historic centre, and was conceived as a whole with the rest of the palace, park and gardens.
Piazza dell’Annunziata is the heart of the village, and in the architect’s thought it was conceived as a scenic interruption, preparing the visitor's eye to the view of the magnificent Reggia. The same shape of the square reminds of an ancient symbol of the Savoy family. From 1667, the year of its construction, until the conversion of the Reggia into barracks, in the square were held all the trade activities of the residents. When Venaria turned into a military base, the whole village had to undertake a new military vocation, although the architectural structure remained untouched.
The Reggia in numbers:
Total surface of the complex: 80.000 sqm
Capacity: 230.000 cubic meters
Total length of the path through the Reggia
Total surface of the gardens: 80 ha
Water litre capacity of the Pescheria Grande:11 millions
Number of visitors registered during the first year of opening to public: 950.000 visitors
Ticket office: via Mensa 34 - Venaria Reale (historic centre adjacent to the Reggia)
Tel.: +39 011 4992333 (from 9 am to18.30 pm)
Guided visits booking:
Tel.: +39 011 4992333 (from 9 am to18.30 pm);
Toll free number: IT 800 329 329 – EU 00 800 111 333 00
What to see in Turin
» Superga Basilica
» Rivalta Castle
» Cortile del Maglio - ex Arsenale Militare (The coolest and most avant-guard night clubs in Turin)
» Galleria Sabauda - Savoy Gallery
» Mole Antonelliana
» Museo Egizio - Egyptian museum
» Museo dell'automobile - Car museum
» Museo della Sacra Sindone - Museum of Shroud
» Orto Botanico - Botanical Garden
» Palazzo Madama
» The Royal Palace - Palazzo Reale
» Palaisozaki & Punti di Vista
» Archaeological park in the "Quadrilatero"
» Turin platform and the Red Arch (La "Passerella" e l'Arco Rosso)
» Piazza Vittorio
» Dora district: Dora Park; Media Village; Environment Park; Chiesa del Santo Volto
» The Spina Centrale: the fountains-Igloo by Mario Merz; Opera per Torino by Per Kirkeby; Albero Giardino by Giuseppe Pennone
Main Attractions in the surroundings of Turin