The La Venaria Reale Project, promoted by the European Union and coordinated by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Regione Piemonte, was the largest restoration project in Europe concerning a cultural asset. It aimed to revive the baroque splendour that inspired Duke Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy who, in the mid-17th century, conceived the plan for the Reggia di Venaria, that is now once again a symbol of modernity and culture. Since its opening in 2007, La Venaria Reale has become one of Italy’s five most visited cultural sites.
Conceived as a modern court for contemporary leisure in line with other leading international institutions, the Reggia or Palace is a cultural production and entertainment centres that offers to Italian and international visitors a wealth of artistic, architectural, and historical leisure pursuits in an extraordinary natural setting.
The monumental palace, that extends over 80,000 square metres of floor space, is home to some of the finest examples of European baroque: the enchanting scenario of the Hall of Diana designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte, the solemnity of the Great Gallery and the Church of St. Hubert, the grandiose complex of the Juvarra Stables designed by Filippo Juvarra in the 18th century, the sumptuous decorations and the imaginative installations by Peter Greenaway on life at court, represent the ideal setting for the Theatre of History and Magnificence, the permanent exhibition devoted to the House of Savoy that takes the visitor along a path spanning almost 2 km, from the basement level to the piano nobile of the Reggia.
Seen from above, the Reggia and the Gardens cover a surface of 950,000 square metres of unencumbered architecture and parkland. They lie at the heart of a vast estate that comprises the Juvarra Stables (a 5,000 sq.m. exhibition centre in the Citroniera and the Great Stables), the Conservation and Restoration Centre (the third in Italy, housed in the 8,000 sq.m. area of the former Alfieri Stables), the Old Town Centre, the Borgo Castello and the Cascina Rubbianetta (today home to the prestigious International Riding Centre) set amidst the woods and castles that dot the 6,000 hectares of greenery in the nearby Park of La Mandria.
The Gardens are a brilliant combination of ancient and modern, where archaeological findings and contemporary artworks engage in a virtuous dialogue framed in a boundless scenario: the 17th century grottoes, the remains of the Fountain of Hercules and the Temple of Diana, the restored Great Pond, the Grand Parterre, the Alleys, the Flower Garden and the Rose Garden, and Italy’s largest Potager Royal remain unparalleled among Italian historical gardens for their glorious perspectives and the vastness of their natural scenery, against the backdrop of the Park of La Mandria and the mountain peaks of the Alps.
At the turn of the last century, this 80-hectare area was so badly damaged as to prevent any perception of the Gardens’ original 17th-18th century layout. Over a period of 8 years a complex restoration project has led to an unprecedented achievement: the reconstruction of a landscape and its historical marks with an eye towards modern aesthetics and fruition needs. Almost 50,000 new plants are now in place, next to important art works by the contemporary master Giuseppe Penone.
La Venaria Reale, declared part of UNESCO’s World Heritage, lies at the heart of the Circuit of Royal Residences of Piedmont and it is connected to other Royal Residences in the vicinity and to Turin’s concentric Museum District.
La Venaria Reale is not a “museum”, but a “contemporary estate”: its vast spaces provide endless opportunities to indulge in leisure pursuits and celebrate the joy of living and make history, dreaming and entertainment accessible to all. Almost every day La Venaria is home to concerts and performances, live shows and cultural events that attract a vast and varied public. La Venaria Reale deserves more than a quick visit: it will take no less than a full day to truly appreciate the wealth of attractions and services available, that include unique cafés and bookshops, a first-rate restaurant, educational activities, location rental and assistance for disabled visitors.
The Venaria Reale estate is managed by the Consortium for the Cultural Promotion of “La Venaria Reale” made up of the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage, Regione Piemonte, the Venaria Reale Town Council, Compagnia di San Paolo and Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura. The peculiar administrative nature of the Consortium provides La Venaria Reale with considerable autonomy. The President (appointed by the Italian Ministry with the Regional Authority) is Fabrizio Del Noce, the Director (appointed by the Regional Authority with the Ministry) is Alberto Vanelli.
La Venaria Reale in figures
- 950,000 square meters area covered by the Reggia, the Gardens and outbuildings
- 118,000 square metres of surface area
- 512,000 cubic metres
- 196,000 square metres of stucco and plaster work
- 35,000 square metres of façades
- 30,000 square metres of interior flooring
- 4,750 tonnes of paving
- 1,600 square metres of frescoes
- 14,800 metres of decorative frames
- 1,300 metres of balustrades
- almost 2,000 metres in length for the permanent display
- 50 hectares of Gardens
- 148,000 new plants
- 10 hectares of vegetable gardens and orchards in Italy’s largest Potager
- 11 million litres of water in the Great Pond of the Gardens, 250 metres long and 50 metres wide
- ½ kilometre in a straight line down Via Maestra, the main street in the old town centre
- more than 6,500 hectares of land in the Park of La Mandria
- 35 km of boundary walls around the Park of La Mandria
- 30,000 square metres of floor surface in the Borgo Castello of La Mandria
- 8,000 square metres of floor surface in the Cascina Rubbianetta and the roofed riding ground, with 5 hectares outdoors for the International Riding Centre in the Park of La Mandria
- La Venaria Reale is one of Italy’s 5 most visited cultural sites.