La Venaria Reale in Piedmont has become one of the best places to visit in Italy since its opening in 2007. It had been abandoned and neglected for two centuries and took years of extensive restoration works to bring the complex back to its former glory.
A short drive from Turin, La Venaria Reale includes the baroque Royal Palace, formal gardens, the ancient village of Venaria and the La Mandria Park.
The House of Savoy used the complex as a royal summer residence, center for breeding thoroughbreds and hunting estate in the 17th-18th centuries. Spread over 860 000 square foot, the Royal Palace (Reggia di Venaria Reale) is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Europe. It boasts many original frescoes, paintings and opulent décor.
The Gardens of the Reggia cover an area of about 150 acres and include grottoes, magnificent rose pergolas, fountains, modern sculptures, ponds where you can enjoy a gondola ride. The Napoleon’s army completely destroyed the gardens in the 19th century, so a modernised version was created using the same outline that can be seen on old drawings. Stroll leisurely on the neat gravelled paths of the garden or take a ride in an old horse carriage to explore hidden corners.
The Park of La Mandria, one of Europe’s largest natural reserves, is encircled with a 35-km long fencing wall. Here you can see ancient farm buildings, remains of a medieval shelter, and two old hunting lodges. There are many walking and cycling trails and visitors can wonder around or take an organised walking tour.
La Venaria Reale has excellent art exhibitions throughout the year, hosts live performances, special events, concerts and festivals during summer months. The permanent display at the Reggia, tells visitors the history and the art of the House of Savoy. It is a 2,000-meter walk from the ground floor to the piano nobile of the Royal Palace. You will visit the apartments of the King and the Queen, the Great Gallery, the Church of St. Hubert, see where the court’s kitchens used to be, admire spectacular interiors and vast spaces. Thanks to its uniqueness La Venaria Reale is considered one of the best places to visit in Italy.
Photos by: Stefano Merli, MartaMaria Fontana, Luca Boldrini