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 worked at the castle in the 1720s. In 1860 Victor Emmanuel ordered the enlargement of the village, turning it into a castle with a surface of 35,000 m2. The new structure had a rectangular shape measuring 280 x 100 m with three internal courtyards. The king wanted here a private residence (not belonging to the royal estates) to live with his morganatic wife, Rosa Vercellana. An apartment was built for her family by Domenico Ferri. In 1861 the structure was expanded with the 'Villa of the Lakes', a neo-Gothic wing and a fountain of a sea horse fighting a triton by Vincenzo Vela. All the edifices, similarly to the Palazzo Carignano in Turin, are in brickwork.
The apartments consist of 20 rooms that offer insights into the choices and the tastes of the king. Now open to the public, they paint an intriguing portrait of this charismatic figure of the Italian Risorgimento.
The Royal Apartments are fully furbished and contain precious objects, artworks, textiles, furniture and furnishings from ancient Savoy collections that allow visitors to appreciate the taste of the first king of Italy.
In 1997, the castle was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.