#noveparole. 6 - Contemplation | La Venaria Reale

#noveparole. 6 - Contemplation

Gian Luca Favetto tells the history and the achitecture of the Reggia di Venaria in a journey throughout nine words.

Nine stages, nine ideas and nine spaces take you on a journey through the Palace, seen from a new perspective. More than just a tour of a stately home, this is story of the Reggia and of the emotions and ideas it evokes. It is many things: a building, a residence, an urban design project, a metaphor, a Utopia and a symbol of power. It is the fruit of a vision whose stratification of styles and eras remains true to every period of history that has passed through its walls.

Words are small things, but they contain images, some of them immense. They hold emotions and sentiments which are infinite, and indefinable. They hold the past and the future, weaving stories in which we can see ourselves.

These nine words are like an archipelago of islands, waiting for you to explore.

Idea and voice: Gian Luca Favetto
Graphic design: Leandro Agostini
Editing: Gianluca Negro
A project by the Consorzio delle Residenze Reali Sabaude


6 - CONTEMPLATION

They call it a chapel, but once you are inside, looking up at the spaces and volumes, the walls and pillars, despite its small size, it gives you the idea of a basilica, rather like the Basilica of Superga. They resemble each other: two splendid examples of baroque architecture, and in fact were designed by the same hand, of the architect Filippo Juvarra of Messina. 

The Superga Basilica, which stands on a hill overlooking Turin, was started in 1717 and completed in 1731. Work on the smaller, more private chapel, almost hidden away inside the Palace, began a year earlier in 1716, and was completed in 1729. 

It is known as the Chapel of St Hubert, patron saint of hunters, as the Reggia was originally designed to be a hunting lodge. Ambitions grew, and just as our French cousins across the Alps built Versailles, the Savoy family built La Venaria. This is why, after becoming king, Victor Amadeus II, summoned Filippo Juvarra to Turin. He became the first architect of the Savoy reign, and his first official task was to build the Chapel of St Hubert and the Basilica of Superga. 

The Superga Basilica speaks of triumph and ambition, this Chapel is more a place of contemplation: not outside the self, but inside the self, assisted by the space as it was designed, and by the light falling gently from above.

It is a place of spiritual respite along the path. In the words of St Augustine: “Men contemplate the tops of the mountains, the wide stretches of sea, the broad streams, the vastness of the ocean and the course of the stars, yet they neglect themselves”. And so the Chapel inside the Royal Venaria offers an auspicious pause.

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