Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy represent the 17th and 18th century building programme of this dynasty of absolute monarchs. The group of 22 buildings is located in Turin (the “Command Area”) and in its province Piedmont (pleasure and hunting residences).
The Dukes of Savoy moved their court to Turin in 1562. Using their family wealth, successive dukes initiated construction and expansion programmes with an eye for town planning and overall cohesion.
Inscribed buildings in Turin:
- Palazzo Reale
- Palazzo Chiablese
- Royal Armory - Royal Library
- Palazzo della Prefettura (former State Secretariats)
- State Archives (former Court Archives)
- Former Military Academy
- Riding School with stables
- Mint [Regia Zecca]
- Façade of the Royal Theatre
- Palazzo Madama
- Palazzo Carignano
- Castello del Valentino
- Villa della Regina
- Castello di Rivoli
- Castello di Moncalieri
- Castello di Venaria
- Castello della Mandria
- Palazzina di Stupinigi
- Castello di Agliè
- Castello di Racconigi
- Pollenzo Estate
- Castello di Govone
Visit February 2013
My trek along Turin’s palaces started badly. I arrived at the Palazzo Reale at its opening hour of 8.30 a.m., but was not able to enter because the ticket office could not give me change back. A 50 EUR note proved to be too large to pay a 10 EUR entrance fee. They don’t accept debit or credit cards either, so I was sent away to try and change at the coffee shop. Which also would not let me. After that I was fed up with the unfriendly welcome, and decided to boycot the place. If you see a foreign tourist coming in through thick snow, can´t you just make it work somehow?
Things brightened up considerably when I entered the hallway of the nearby Palazzo Madama. It has a fabulous staircase, which is free to enter. It gave me the first (and last) wow!-moment of this WHS. A bit further south lies the Palazzo Carignano. This has a full brick façade, pretty remarkable. The main courtyard is totally made out of brick too.
Finally I entered the Palazzo Madama, where the entrance costs another 10 EUR. Exhibitions cover 4 floors of this historical building, which is an extension to a medieval castle. Most of the interior is pretty plain, especially compared to the magnificent Juvarra staircase downstairs. The walls are covered by art from late medieval times to renaissance and baroque. Captions are in Italian only, though it is not very hard to understand the omnipresent ´Madonna col bambino´.
The palaces of Turin were entered in the WH list because they are as representative of the Ancien Regime as those in France and Germany. The Savoy dynasty also had strong relations with courts all over Europe. So it´s no wonder I got the feeling that I had seen it all before. Wurzburg Residence for example is quite similar.
Turin in general is not one of Italy’s great historic cities, although it was its first capital and it has always been quite prosperous. Probably due to the cold, it looked quite rough around the edges with many homeless people hiding under the city's arcaded walkways. The city center has a “consistent baroque architecture”, which I found quite boring and grey. It is worth visiting though for its museums: I very much enjoyed the Egyptian Museum, with a collection of Egyptian objects both in quantity and quality that I had never encountered before. The nearby Cinema Museum is said to be good too.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
I visited this WHS in September 2007. When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a vast series of building projects (continued by his successors) to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. The Royal Palace is a true gem of Turin and well worth a visit.
| Date posted: September 2012|
|john booth (New Zealand):|
In Turin I was unprepared for the magnitude of the Piazza Castello, with musicians, buskers and a brass band providing entertainment. Around this expanse of paving were most of the buildings included in the WHS including the Palazzo Madama and the more staid Palazzo Reale. Other buildings were to be found in the adjacent streets.
A short distance away, on a hill to the east was the Villa della Regina, reached by bus #56. The Castello del Valentino, beside the Po river was reached by bus #34.
Further away from Turin I visited the Castello di Racconigi and Castello di Moncalieri both large brick buildings and both reached by trains from Porta Nova station.
Pollenzo estate, now the university of food sciences, is reached by bus #2 from Bra.
Venaria Reale and its Mandria hunting lodge cover a large area of countryside, are reached by the Venaria Express bus from Porta Nova station.
The crumbling Castello di Rivoli is reached by bus #36 from Paradiso metro station, then by navette up to the castle from where there is a fine view of Turin.
The Palace of Stupenigi, also in the middle of a huge park, is reached by bus #41 from Lingotto station.
The Castello di Aglie with its elaborately frescoed ballroom is reached by train from Porta Susa station to Rivarolo, then by bus to Aglie. This site is conveniently close to the Sacro Monte of Valperga.
| Date posted: September 2011|
|Monica Tasciotti (Italy):|
On my last trip to Turin, I visited Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama, Venaria Reale and Castello di Rivoli with its Museum of Contemporary Art. I don’t love particularly Contemporary Art but the Castello is very pleasant, also thanks to the sunny spring weather on that day. You can eat outside the cafeteria enjoying the panorama but there’s also a very famous, elegant and expensive restaurant there (Sunday closed) if you can afford the price.
With a car, on the same day you can visit both Venaria (12€) and Rivoli (6.5€) since they are on the same direction. Venaria is one of the biggest Savoy residences but one part of the palace (the Scuderie Juvarriane) can be visited only on the occasion of big art expositions. Plants in the Gardens are still very young and the long Vasca (2.5km fountains) is under restoration but there you can get acquainted with the long history of the Savoy family. Rooms in Palazzo Reale are similar to many other royal palaces but there’s not much original furniture, in any case it still worth a visit. Go early in the morning when visiting this Palazzo since tours varies according to days and hours, so it can be difficult to visit all the apartments on the first and second floor and the kitchens (6.50/10€) on the same day. Don’t miss to take a look at the San Lorenzo Church outside and the cafeteria inside. Worth a visit Palazzo Madama with its Museum created after the visit of the founder of the Victoria & Albert in London. If you are in Turin during the week you can also take a look at Castello del Valentino, now hosting the Faculty of Architecture meanwhile to visit Villa della Regina you need to book well in advance. Unfortunately, the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi (probably the most beautiful of the residences) is currently closed because it needs heavy restoration. Anyway, even if they aren’t WHS, don’t go away before having visited the famous Egyptian Museum and the very interesting Cinema Museum in the Mole Antonelliana where you can also enjoy a wonderful view of the city surrounded by the Alps taking its elevator to the top (5€ only the elevator, 9€ with the Museum). When visiting Turin and its surroundings consider to buy the convenient Torino+Piemonte Card: € 20,00 (2 days), € 25,00 (3 days).
| Date posted: March 2010|
|Jack & Kay Jackson (U.S.A.):|
Castello Cassotto is a very impressive and intriguing royal hunting lodge in Southern Piedmont. It is undergoing renovation, like almost all the other palaces of the Savoys, but this one had not yet been ravaged by cleaners and refinishers when we toured it in Sept, 2005. It is deep in the woods off the main roads, and was the king's favorite hunting lodge. NONE of the many rooms in the palace have been touched since it was closed, and it looks it, dust and all, but that makes it all the more amazing to see. The willing but Italian-only guide took us throughout the palace, including the impressive royal chapel, the palace kichen, and the grounds in the rear that show some of the destruction wrought by Napolean's army. This residence is worth the 30 minute detour off the highway on a winding road through a beautiful forest. If you can find it, you may be only the second English-speaking tourists to see it EVER.
| Date posted: December 2005|
|Graeme Ramshaw ():|
Unfortunately, my experience with Torino was marred by terrible weather and the ongoing construction that precedes the arrival of the 2006 Winter Olympics in the city. On my trip, I visited the Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama (from the outside as it was under renovation), and the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi (a royal hunting lodge outside of the city centre). The Palazzo Reale was underwhelming at first but proved in the end to be the equal of many other royal palaces in Europe; Stupinigi was also impressive although my desire to wander the grounds was deterred by the torrential rain. My explorations around the rest of Torino revealed an elegant city that presently bears the scars of massive development projects that are being rushed to completion in time to welcome the world for the Olympics. I hope I get the opportunity to visit Torino again to see the city at its best.
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