La Venaria Reale is a grandiose estate just outside Turin. In comprises 80,000 square meters of floor surface in the Reggia and 60 hectares of Gardens, adjacent to the 17th century ancient village of Venaria and the 3,000 fenced hectares of the Park of La Mandria. It is a natural and architectural masterpiece that was declared part of the World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997. It reopened to the public in 2007 after completing the EU’s largest cultural restoration project to date.

The monumental palace or Reggia boasts some of the finest examples of universal Baroque: the elegant Hall of Diana designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte, the solemn Great Gallery and the Church of St. Hubert, the imposing complex of the Juvarra Stables designed by Filippo Juvarra in the 18th century, the sumptuous decorations and the spectacular Fountain of the Stag in the Court of Honor and the spectacular Fountain of the Stag in the Court of Honor provide a unique setting for the Theater of History and Magnificence, the permanent display – almost 2,000 m long – devoted to the House of Savoy, that spans from the basement level to the piano nobile of the Reggia.

The Gardens of the Reggia bring together an ancient and modern charm. Here the extraordinary balance between the archeological remains and the contemporary artworks is set in a boundless scenery that remains unparalleled among Italian gardens for the majesty and the vastness of the natural landscape that extends from the thick forests of the Park of La Mandria to the mountain peaks of the Alps.

The 18th century Upper Park, characterized by a peculiar checkered pattern, is home to the reinstated Grand Parterre.

The Upper Park is also home to the large Alleys, the groves with their peacocks and doves.

The Lower Park is home to the vast water expanse of the 11-million-liter Pond (Peschiera), the Garden of Fluid Sculptures by Giuseppe Penone, the 17th century grottoes, the remains of the Fountain of Hercules and the Temple of Diana – now home to two beautiful white mute swans – that punctuate the long straight line of the newly redesigned Water Canal.

The Lower Park of the Gardens of the Reggia is also home to the largest Potager in Italy, that covers an area of 10 hectares in the vicinity of the Cascina Medici del Vascello farm.

The straight line that runs from Via Mensa, the main street in the old town center of Venaria Reale, across the Hall of Diana and the Flower Garden, continues down the Alley of Hercules where ancient ruins have been brought back to light by archaeological excavations, running across the Court of Honor with the Fountain of the Stag, the Flower Garden, the ruins of the Fountain of Hercules with the new canal and the base of the Temple of Diana.

This was the original straight line conceived by Amedeo di Castellamonte who, in the second half of the 17th century, designed the Village, the Reggia, and the Gardens as a single complex. In the Gardens fountains and monumental elements characterized this path, where sculptures and reliefs reflected the Reggia’s decorations and celebrated allegorically the competition between man and nature. Special emphasis was placed on hunting, a tribute to the Reggia’s original vocation. The Fountain of Hercules and the Temple of Diana marked the two ends of the long Alley of Hercules, the main promenade in the 17th century.

The Venaria Reale estate is an environmental and architectural complex of extraordinary charm. These boundless, varied, and spectacular spaces create magical atmospheres where visitors can indulge in the pursuit of an array of cultural and leisure activities: live performances, special events, concerts and art shows go hand in hand with direct, intimate contact with nature, relaxation, entertainment, sports and pastimes, and gastronomic delights.

Among all the events that take place at La Reggia there is the “Gran Ballo della Venaria Reale” in mid November, the manifestation called “Giornate da Re” that boosts with games, fairytales, artistic, theatrical and dance performances from April to the end of September, and the event “Cavalli e carrozze da fiaba” where horse-drawn carriages and more than 100 horses make their spectacular apperance.

I would like to thank my friend Giulia who loves this place and recommends it as a must see in Turin.


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