Thursday, October 13, 2016

Royal freetime around Turin

Today, our royal palace quest brings us to Venaria, Turin's northern suburb where there is La Venaria Reale or the Royal Palace of Venaria and to Stupinigi, in the southern suburb, where there is La Palazzina di Caccia or the Savoy hunting lodge.

The Royal Palace of Venaria

In Latin "Venaria" means “venatio regia” or royal hunt because duke Charles Emmanuel II, requested it as the base for his hunting expeditions, in 1675.
However, after 1741, this castle it was hardly used and in 1978, it was donated to the Italian Ministry of Culture. As a tourist site, it was finally opened to the public in 2007 and today it’s the third most visited Italian site. 

Beautiful Galleria di Diana inside the Venaria Royal Palace
Many consider it the Turin's Versailles, rich in art masterpieces: stuccos, statues and paintings, up to 8,000 - according to the 17th century architect who designed it.
The gardens are spectacular too and have been rebuilt following the original botanical indications of the 17th century.

the orchard
Many interesting exhibits are always organized at the Venaria Royal Palace which is also a museum where you can see how Turin developed over the centuries. In the warm months the park welcomes everybody to enjoy it as their own and you can even rent some areas for your own celebrations! How's that for a royal palace?? Yes, in Turin we do live la vida royal ;)

Royal Hunting Lodge of Stupinigi welcomes you with the deer on its roof

Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi or the Royal Hunting Lodge of Stupinigi is the southern suburb of Stupinigi. it was built in early 1700s but a secondary branch of the Savoy family owned this Palace back in 1418 and in 1563, Duke Emmanuel Philibert bought it when he made Turin the capital of the Savoy kingdom.
In 1729, the lodge underwent some renovation works to make it king Victor Amadeus II royal hunting lodge.

Royal gate of the Stupinigi Royal Hunting Lodge
Both building and gardens expanded following the projects of different royal architects and artists and currently, the building has 137 rooms and 17 galleries. A bronze stag standing on the top of the central dome symbolized the purpose of the lodge. This was also the favorite place for the royal celebrations and weddings and today, it houses the museum of art and furnishings - Museo di Arte e Ammobiliamento with some original pieces of this residence and others brought over from the other Savoy royal palaces. 

Royal Hunting Lodge and park from the sky
As for the park, since 1992, it’s been an official natural reserve: Parco Naturale di Stupinigi where original rare plants can be admired together with the local wildlife: foxes, weasels, hares, hazel dormouses, beech martens, white storks and tree squirrels among the many. Take a virtual tour here.

These Royal residences are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, so mark them down for your next Turin itinerary as they will definitely be worth it!

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