Residences of the Royal House of Savoy

Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama e Casaforte degli Acaja is a palace in Turin, Piedmont. It was the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy, and takes its traditional name from the embellishments it received under two queens (madama) of the House of Savoy. In 1997, it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy. At the beginning of the first century BC, the site of the palace was ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Turin, Italy

Palazzo Carignano

Palazzo Carignano is a historical building in the centre of Turin, Italy, which houses the Museum of the Risorgimento. It was a private residence of the Princes of Carignano, after whom it is named. Its rounded façade is different from other façades of the same structure. In 1997, it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy. The construction of the Palazzo ...
Founded: 1679 | Location: Turin, Italy

Royal Palace of Turin

The Royal Palace of Turin (Palazzo Reale di Torino) is a historic palace of the House of Savoy in the city of Turin in Northern Italy. It was originally built in the 16th century and was later modernized by Christine Marie of France in the 17th century, with designs by the Baroque architect Filippo Juvarra. The palace also includes the Palazzo Chiablese and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, the latter of which was built to h ...
Founded: 1645 | Location: Turin, Italy

Palace of Venaria

The Palace of Venaria (Reggia di Venaria Reale) is a former royal residence and gardens located in Venaria Reale, near Turin. It is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, included in the UNESCO Heritage List in 1997. The Palace was designed and built from 1675 by Amedeo di Castellamonte, commissioned by duke Charles Emmanuel II, who needed a base for his hunting expeditions in the heathy hill country nort ...
Founded: 1675 | Location: Venaria Reale, Italy

Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi

The Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in northern Italy, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Built as a royal hunting lodge in the early 18th century, it is located in Stupinigi, a suburb of the town of Nichelino, 10 km southwest of Turin. The original castle was owned by the Acaja line of the House of Savoy, Lords of Piedmont until 1418, and was sold to mar ...
Founded: 1729 | Location: Stupinigi, Italy

Castello del Valentino

Castello del Valentino is a historic palace in the northwestern Italian city of Turin. It is located in Parco del Valentino, and is the seat of the Architecture Faculty of the Polytechnic University of Turin. It is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997. The ancient castle was bought by Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy on the advice of Andrea Pal ...
Founded: 1633-1660 | Location: Turin, Italy

Castle of Rivoli

The Castle of Rivoli is a former Residence of the Royal House of Savoy in Rivoli near Turin. It is currently home to the Castello di Rivoli – Museo d"Arte Contemporanea, the museum of contemporary art of Turin. In 1997, it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy. The castle was probably built in the 9th–10th centuries. Its existence is mentioned for ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Turin, Italy

Castello di Racconigi

The Royal Castle of Racconigi is a palace and landscape park in Racconigi, Italy. It was the official residence of the Carignano line of the House of Savoy, and is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy included by UNESCO in the World Heritage Sites list. The first records of the castle are from around the year 1000, when Bernardino of Susa rebuilt an ancient manor, leaving it to Cistercian monks. The cas ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Racconigi, Italy

Castello Ducale

Agliè"s main attraction is its Castello Ducale, one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dating from the 12th century, it was originally a possession of the counts of San Martino. In the 17th century, it was turned into a rich residence by count Filippo d"Agliè, but was ravaged during the French invasion of 1706. In 1765 it was acquired by Charles Emmanue ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Agliè, Italy

Villa della Regina

The Villa della Regina is a palace in the city of Turin, Piedmont. It was originally built by the House of Savoy in the 17th century. In 1997, it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy. The original structure was designed in early 1615 by the Italian soldier, architect and military engineer, Ascanio Vitozzi. When he died in 1615, the project passed to his c ...
Founded: 1615 | Location: Turin, Italy

Castello della Mandria

Surrounded by the lush greenery of the Park of La Mandria, the royal apartments of the Borgo Castello provide a fascinating connection between the natural environment and the Reggia. The existence of a building in the wood is documented since the 18th century, when Victor Amadeus II of Savoy built here the stables of the nearby Royal Palace, within a royal hunting reserve active since the 16th century. Filippo Juvarra wo ...
Founded: 1720s | Location: Venaria Reale, Italy

Moncalieri Castle

The Castle of Moncalieri is a palace in Turin in northern Italy. It is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1997. The first structure was a fortress built by Thomas I of Savoy around 1100 on a hill, to command the main southern access to Turin. In the mid-15th century Yolanda of Valois, wife of Duke Amadeus IX, turned it into a pleasure residence. Architect Car ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Turin, Italy

Castello di Pollenzo

Castello di Pollenzo is one of the former residences of Savoy family. In 1997, the castle was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy.  The castle was originaly built in the Middle Ages, but it was reconstructed to the current appearance between 1832-1848 by Charles Albert of Sardinia.
Founded: 1832-1848 | Location: Pollenzo, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.