The Palace of Venaria is a former royal residence and gardens located in Venaria Reale, near Turin in the Metropolitan City of Turin of the Piedmont region in northern Italy. With 80,000m² in palace area and over 950.000m² in premises, it is one the largest palaces in the world. It is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, included in the UNESCO Heritage List in 1997.
The park around the Palace is one of the largest enclosed park in Europe and was established as a protected national park in 1978; it was later incorporated into the ‘Natura 2000’ an important green belt established by the EU and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
‘The Natural Park of the Herd’ extends to around 3,000 hectares it is criss-crossed with hiking and cycle-friendly trails, hosting a rich and diverse selection of wildlife and flora. You'll spot otters, deer, wild boars, hares, foxes, tawny owls and numerous other creatures endemic to Southern Europe and you'll stumble upon beautiful architectural gems including Borgo Castle and it’s Royal Apartments, hunting lodges, farms and a shelter dating back to medieval times.
It was built on the behest of Vittorio Emanuele II 'the hunter king' (b.1820 - d.1878), who resided here with one of his mistresses whom he later married in a morganatic arrangement. Her name was Rosa Vercellana, despised by the nobles but cherished by the masses due to her rise from peasantdom. She was known in Piedmont as ‘Bela Rosin’ having met the future king Vittorio Emanuele II aged just 14. She went gave him two children and lived most of her life on the estate, continuing to have a life-long relationship with the king despite his numerous other mistresses. He loved the park too due to both the possibility to hunt and to escape from the pressures of court life.
The most significant structure in the park is Borgo Castle. Initially designed by Fillippo Juvarra and constructed around 1720, it was enlarged significantly in 1860-1861 to include the neo-Gothic wing ‘Castle of the Lakes” which comprises a fountain of a seahorse fighting a triton designed by Vincenzo Vela. Later additions included a test-track owned by FIAT, a golf course, a visitors centre with focusing on environmental education as well as residential and business property conversions.
You can access this historically significant and beautifully preserved natural landscape from one of numerous public gates: Ponte Verde, Tre Cancelli (Venaria Reale), Rubbianetta, Cascina Oslera and San Gillio (the ‘gate of weirdness’, so named because of it’s eccentric mish-mash of architectural styles).
Numerous scheduled events take place here including night-trekking, horse and cart rides and wildlife photography courses just to mention but a few.
Reggia di Venaria e Parco Regionale de la Mandria
Viale Carlo Emanuele II, 256, 10078 Venaria Reale (TO)
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