Palace of Venaria

Venaria Reale, Italy

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 north of Turin. The name itself derives from Latin, Venatio Regia meaning 'Royal Hunt'. It was enlarged to become a luxurious residence for the House of Savoy. The palace complex became a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and was filled with decoration and artwork. It fell into disuse at the end of the 18th century. After the Napoleonic wars, it was used for military purposes until 1978, when its renovation began, leading to the largest restoration project in European history. It opened to the public in 2007, and it has since become a major tourist attraction and exhibition space.

The Palace

The palace is made up of two distinct wings: the original 17th century core of the residence, which is covered in white plaster, and the later 18th-century addition, with exposed brickwork. The entrance of the palace leads into the Cour d'honneur, which once housed a fountain with a deer. The main facade, covered with plaster and featuring cornucopias, shells and fruits, is connected on the right by section with the 18th-century wing. The two towers date to the Michelangelo Garove period (1669–1713) and are covered with multicolour pentagonal tiles in ceramics, which are united by a large gallery, known as Galleria Grande.

The Cour d'honneur leads into the Sala di Diana (The Hall of Diana), which functions as the heart of the palace. It is a rectangular room, decorated with stuccoes and paintings obviously centred on the theme of hunting. These include the frescoed vault representing Olympus (work of Jan Miel) which pictures Jupiter offering a gift to Diana, huge equestrian portraits of the dukes and the court (works by various painters in the ducal service), and hunting-themed canvases by Jan Miel.

The centrepiece of the 18th-century wing is the Galleria Grande (Grand Gallery), which is stucco decorations, 44 arched windows, and black and white tiled floor.

Gardens

The original gardens of the residence have now totally disappeared, since French troops turned them into training grounds. Earlier drawings show an Italian garden with three terraces connected by elaborate stairways and architectural features such as a clock tower in the first court, the fountain of Hercules, a theatre and parterres.

Recent works have recreated a park in modern style, exhibiting modern works by Giuseppe Penone, including a fake 12 m-high cedar housing the thermic discharges of the palace.

Church of Sant'Uberto

After the death of Garove (1713), Juvarra was commissioned by Vittorio Amedeo II to build a church dedicated to Saint Hubertus, patron of hunters. The grandiose baroque church presents a Greek-cross plan with an octagonal core, and houses a large high altar inside, two side altars, and four side chapels located diagonally. Due to the church's position within the palace complex, it was impossible to build a dome. It was instead simulated with a trompe-l'œil painted on the vaulting by Giovanni Antonio Galliari. Juvarra decided to push facade back from in relation to the Grand Galley, in order to obtain a parvise in front of the church.

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Details

Founded: 1675
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kensaku Nakai (16 months ago)
It was so beautiful building. Garden was fantastic, too. I paid full ticket which was 20€. Worth to pay for sure. There is a restaurant in the garden but menu is limited. Not only castle but looking around small town around castle is good too. Many cozy cafe and restaurants are there.
Richard Legg (16 months ago)
Exuberant royal palace and gardens a lot of historical stuff if you like that sort of thing the express bus at €7 return from Turin was great value entrance €20 was good by UK prices. The gardens were stunning. Half a day minimum time required to do this justification.
Sophia Papadopoulou (21 months ago)
The lady in the entrance wasn’t speaking English at all, was rude and annoyed with us that we don’t know Italian. For the palace, the entrance of 20€ isn’t worth for what you can see inside the palace. The places that are open to the public are very few at the moment. The gardens were beautiful, totally worth to visit them from May and after cause now they weren’t totally bloom. If you have the Torino card like me it’s totally worth to go even if it’s far from Turin, cause it’s free.
MIHIR SATHE (2 years ago)
Beautiful place to visit near Turin city. There are amazing restaurants near the palace which offer great food. The palace is very nice to visit from inside as well as the gardens !! Beautiful view indeed !!
Robert Reister (3 years ago)
The peacock cage is a catastrophe. To keep the these beautiful birds in such a small cage is a crime. Please make it bigger.
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