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LA VENARIA REALE consortium for cultural valorization

The Venaria complex is managed by the “La Venaria Reale Consortium for Cultural Valorization”, founded by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, by Regione Piemonte, by the City of Venaria Reale, by the Compagnia di San Paolo, by the Foundation of Arts of Compagnia di San Paolo.
This is a new juridical subject in the field of cultural heritage, based on articles 112 and 115 of the Cultural Heritage Policy.
The Consortium grants the Venaria Reale an independent management, presenting an original administrative profile and model. The Consortium is responsible for the management of the Royal Palace, the Gardens, the Citrus Greenhouse and Stables, as well as Villa dei Laghi and parts of Borgo Castello, inside La Mandria Park.

President: Fabrizio Del Noce. Director: Alberto Vanelli.

The Consortium is housed at the Royal Palace of Venaria Reale, piazza della Repubblica - Venaria Reale (TO) - Phone +39 011 4992300 – www.lavenariareale.it
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The Venaria Reale and the new Scuderie juvarriane exhibition space

A total surface of 5.000 square metres, over 140 metres long, about 15 metres wide and with a height of 15 metres: these are the impressive dimensions, spaces and volumes of the Citrus Greenhouse (an ancient greenhouse where citrus trees were grown) and of the Main Stable of the Reggia di Venaria, imposing 18th-century works by architect Filippo Juvarra. After three years of intense restoration works, promoted and coordinated by the Superintendence for Architectural and Landscape Heritage and by Regione Piemonte according to the most advanced technologies and methods, these spaces will host the great international exhibition “Egypt. Sunken treasures”.
A new cultural and exhibition centre is thus added to the Reggia di Venaria complex, which has hosted about 950.000 visitors in the last year, and is destined to represent one of the epicenters, together with the concentric museum system of the city of Turin, for the 2011 event programme, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

The Venaria Reale site is a unique environmental and architectural experience of extraordinary interest. It is an immense, varied and imposing space where the visitor cannot help feeling drawn into the magic atmosphere of cultural attractions and many amusements: shows, events, concerts, exceptional exhibitions, as well as leisure occasions, close contact with nature, relax, sports and oenogastronomical culture.

Venaria Reale and the old town
represent a treasure trove of historic events and trials and tribulations. We sense this in the imposing Baroque palace, with its vast gardens, one of the most significant examples of the magnificence of architecture and art in the 17th and 18th centuries. We sense it, too, in the La Mandria Park, one of the finest examples of European environmental havens where numerous species of both domestic and wild animals live in complete freedom, and where a significant heritage of historic and architectural wealth is preserved.

The new splendours and exceptional quality of the architecture of the restored ‘Reggia’ palace, the immensity and beauty of the gardens and natural spaces in the park allow visitors the opportunity to spend their time immersed in new sensations, savouring new experiences and enjoying the modern concept - accessible to all - of "taste", "leisure time" and the "art of living".

The Roy Phone: +39 011 499 23 33

High-definition pictures of the Venaria Reale are available for download at the following address:
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The Royal Palace

Restored to the baroque magnificence that inspired it in the 17th century, when it was one of the greatest European residences of its times, the Grande Reggia, the heart of the splendid Venaria Reale estate, has become a symbol of modernity and culture once again, after more than three centuries.

Conceived as the new court of contemporary loisir, and in line with other great international institutions, the Reggia di Venaria is a centre of cultural activities and leisure, allowing the Italian and international public to enjoy the pleasures of art, history and architecture in an extraordinary setting. The inauguration of the Reggia in 2007, after being abandoned for two centuries and after 8 years of restoration works, has been an important step in the project to rehabilitate Venaria Reale. The initiative has been promoted by the European Union and perfomed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Regione Piemonte, and has been considered as the most important project for the rehabilitation of cultural assets in Europe.

The Superintendence for Architectural and Landscape Heritage of Piedmont, in charge of the interventions, has applied innovative technologies, experimenting the use of new materials and revolutionary restoration techniques, aimed at cost reduction. Moreover, new educational institutes focused on arts and crafts and technical subjects have been created to provide a specialized formation for new professional figures. Today, the method of the “Venaria Project is regarded as a model for restoration projects.

About 950.000 people have visited the Venaria Reale in its first opening year.

The monumental building occupies a 80.000-square-metre surface, with its multiple extensions, and includes some of the best expressions of European Baroque: the Salone di Diana, a 17th-century masterpiece by Amedeo di Castellamonte, the Galleria Grande, the Church and the Citrus Greenhouse and Main Stable complex, by 18th-century genius Filippo Juvarra.
Seen from above, the Reggia stands in a 950,000 square metre complex of buildings and parkland, the central point of a single estate comprising 80 hectares of garden (some of the vastest in Italy), the Grande Peschiera, an artificial lake holding eleven million litres of water, the historical town centre, Borgo Castello and Cascina Rubbianetta, in a domain of woods and castles that merge into the greenery of La Mandria park (presently hosting the International Horse Centre), which extends more than 6,000 hectares.

The Venaria Reale is the center of the Circuito delle Residenze Reali del Piemonte, and is the access gateway to the Corona di delitiae, connected to Turin’s Royal Pole and with the concentric museum system of Piedmont’s chief city, which is being designed on occasion of the events calendar planned for 2011, the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
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The Gardens

The Gardens of the Reggia di Venaria Reale are one of the most significant examples of the international baroque garden art of the 17th and 18th century: closely related ancient and modern design, a virtuous dialogue between the archaeological ruins and the works of contemporary art, all framed by a view that verges on infinity and is unrivalled among the historic Italian gardens for the magnificence of its perspective and the vastness of its natural landscape surrounded by the woods of La Mandria Park and the mountain chain of the Alps.

After two centuries of improper use and total abandon, the devastation of the 80-hectare gardens was so complete that it was not even possible to perceive the fragments of the original layout. A complex restoration project costing 25 million Euros, promoted and organized by the Superintendence for Architectural and Landscape Heritage of Piedmont and Regione Piemonte allowed for the success of this unprecedented mission: the complete reconstruction of a landscape, with its historical traces, still paying particular attention to aesthetics and modern use.

The presence of extraordinary contemporary artworks by Giuseppe Penone was possible thanks to the co-operation of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Rivoli Castle Museum of Contemporary Art.
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The Venaria Reale in numbers

  • Surface area of the Reggia complex (including the Citrus Greenhouse and former Stables): 80.000 square metres
  • Royal Palace volume: 240.000 cubic metres
  • Stucco and plaster decorations of the Royal Palace: 145.000 square metres
  • Royal Palace façade surface: 35.000 square metres
  • Royal Palace internal pavements: 25.000 square metres
  • Stone pavements inside the Royal Palace: 3.000 tons
  • Former Alfieri stables surface: 8.000 square metres. This space has been devoted to the Preservation and Restoration centre, one of the greatest restoration centres in the world
  • Frescoes inside the Royal Palace: 1.000 square metres
  • Decorative frames: 11 kilometres
  • Banisters: 1 kilometre
  • Visitors’ path: 1,5 kilometres
  • Gardens:80 hectares
  • New plants inside the Gardens: 40.000
  • Peschiera Grande: 11 million liters of water; lenght: 250 metres; width: 50 metres
  • Main road of the ancient town centre: ½ kilometer
  • La Mandria park surface: 6.000 hectares
  • La Mandria Park boundary walls: 35 km
  • La Mandria Castle borough: 30.000 square metres
  • Cascina Rubbianetta and covered riding school surface: 8.000 square metres (with a 5.hectare outdoor additional space, dedicated to the International Horse Centre inside La Mandria Park)
  • Visits during the first opening year of the Complex (Royal Palace and Gardens): 950.000
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Educational services

The Royal Palace of Venaria, one of the most remarkable European examples of the splendour of art and architecture between the 17th and 18th centuries, offers a wealth of visit opportunities and ideas: Teatro di Storia e Magnificenza, a great exhibition path running among art masterpieces and aulic spaces for about 1,5 km ; Ripopolare la Reggia, the multimedia installation on court life by film director Peter Greenaway; the virtuous dialogue in the huge Gardens, between archaeological sites and contemporary artworks, created by Giuseppe Penone in the infinite process of landscape reconstruction; cultural events and exhibition of international relevance.

Even this year, La Venaria Reale has organised specific activities for students of every age and grade, including theme tours, concerts, plays, theatrical paths, meetings with experts.
In fact, the services proposed to students are aimed at welcoming them and leading them to the discovery of a place capable of arousing intense emotions. Each young visitor will have the opportunity of finding adequate times, spaces and expression means to make the visit to the Venaria a pleasant, rewarding moment of encounter with history, art and nature.
The Royal Palace and its magnificent Gardens are set in a unique landscape, offering multiple visit opportunities: for instance, the 17th-century old town centre of the Venaria Reale and the nearby La Mandria Park, an intact natural environment where flora and fauna are free and protected, and other significant buildings can be found, such as the Royal Apartments in Borgo Castello, Villa dei Laghi and Cascina Rubbianetta, seat of the International Horse Centre.

Please contact the Venaria Reale Reservation Centre for further information: phone +39 011 499 23 55 – e-mail: prenotazioneservizieducativi@lavenariareale.it
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The history

The origins of Venaria Reale go back to the mid-17th century, when Duke Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy decided to build a new residence "of pleasure and hunting" for his court. The choice of the location was not difficult for the dukes had held the hunting reserve there since 1580, and it was another ideal gem to complete the "Crown of Delights" - the system of court residences that his predecessors had erected, little by little, all around Turin. The pre-existing town, Altessano Superiore, gave way to this new city, which was the result of an innovative town planning project for the Sabaudian State.
The projects for construction were commissioned, and the court architect Amedeo di Castellamonte reshaped the town, the palace with its annexes, the gardens and hunting reserve (now the La Mandria Park) into a unified setting of buildings and grounds. This led to the creation a majestic monumental site governed by a single axis of symmetry, which is still clearly identifiable in the Via Maestra (main road) of the village. Venaria Reale was not built as an isolated residence but as part of a whole, with the civilian part integrating the court part to flow, in a perfect continuum, into the natural environment.

The pivot of the whole layout was represented by the so-called Palace of Diana, built between 1660 and 1671, and destined to go through two centuries of continuous alterations, readjustments and events that would affect the social and economic destiny of the whole town. In 1693, the French troops of Marshall Catinat had already sacked part of the complex and the architect Michelangelo Garove was called in to rebuild it. As a matter of fact, with the advent of the last duke and first King in the Savoy dynasty, Vittorio Amedeo II, the ambitions of the family became royal and had to reflect and celebrate its importance in the majesty of its residences. This led Garove to develop a more imposing image for the palace at Venaria, directly influenced by the French fashions in architecture of the time: grand pavilions joined by galleries and mansard roofing. The works of enlarging the palace were resumed in 1716 by Filippo Juvarra (who completed the Great Gallery, in recent times known erroneously as "Diana’s", and built the church of Sant'Uberto, dedicated to the patron saint of hunters, the Citroniera and main stables). Work continued until the middle of the 18th century with other architects, including Benedetto Alfieri (who, starting in 1751, created the connections linking Juvarra’s structures, the new stables and the link with the Belvedere tower which joined the churchto the palace). In the mid-18th century French travellers spoke of Venaria Reale as "the greatest and most important country residence of the King".
While the buildings were being completely rebuilt, the gardens also lost their “Italian-style” layout designed by Castellamonte and became a great park in French style, covering about 125 hectares with pretty little parterres, paths, ponds, woods, pergolas and a great labyrinth.
Following the French occupation in 1798, the Venaria site began to experience a slow but inevitable deterioration. The residence did not become part of the circuit of Imperial Mansions under Napoleon, like the royal hunting residence at Stupinigi, and began to lose its treasures, while its grounds, untended, were reclaimed by nature.
During the Restoration Age, the entire Savoy property was used for barracks and throughout the 19th century housed the regiments of artillery that had a primary role in the wars of independence at the time of the Risorgimento.

What is now the old town centre of Venaria was built between 1667 and 1690 and designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte. The focal point of the town is Piazza dell'Annunziata, the square dedicated to the Annunciation. The two statues on columns erected at the centre of the square represent the Announcing Angel and the Virgin Mary. The particular shape of the square is reminiscent also of the Collar of the Annunciation, symbol of one of the most ancient and prestigious orders of the Knights of the House of Savoy. The square was designed to be a relatively large area, interrupting the long straight line of Via Maestra (or Contrada Granda, currently via Mensa leading to the palace) to break it into two sections and thus provide a sort of pause just before the final effect created at the end of the road with the view opening onto the palace.
The town needed a location that could serve as a social and cultural meeting place for the population, and that could also be the expression of the productive life of Venaria with the shops of its artisans opening onto the arcades. After the 18th century, if we overlook the restoration work on the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in the square around the mid-18th century by architect Benedetto Alfieri, building only resumed during the French occupation and mainly concerned the new residential buildings in the area south of Contrada Granda.
After the end of the Napoleonic occupation, no further major changes were made for a long time, except for those concerning the function of several buildings. During the 19th century, with the palace turned into a barracks, the whole town took on a somewhat military imprint.

The history of La Mandria, now a Regional Park covering over 3,000 hectares and bordered by about 30 km of walls, is closely related to that of the city of Venaria and its Reggia. The park was established in the 18th century as an equestrian and breeding centre for thoroughbred horses to be used by the Savoy Kings when, with the court in attendance, they hunted in the former territory of Altessano Superiore.
La Mandria Park is nowadays one of the largest and most active examples environmental safeguard in northwestern Italy, in which many different species of wild and domestic animals live freely or in a semi-wild state. It is also home to the most significant example of a plain forest in Piedmont. The construction of the so-called Castle goes back to the early 18 th century and coincides with the second construction stage of Venaria. After Michelangelo Garove, a number of other celebrated architects such as Filippo Juvarra and Benedetto Alfieri worked there, together with their work on the palace. After the Napoleonic period, a new chapter in the future of the Park was inaugurated by Vittorio Emanuele II. In 1863, he acquired the property and chose the Royal Apartments as one of his favourite residences: It was during this period that the site grew and expanded to become the current town of Borgo Castello.
A large number of other important architectural buildings scattered throughout La Mandria Park. Among these, one called 'Bizzarria', a curious building from the mid-19th century, was a lodge to stop, refresh and rest for Vittorio Emanuele II during hunts, as was the Villa dei Laghi, a neo-Gothic construction built around the middle of the 19th century in a lovely setting enhanced by the presence of three small lakes.
King Vittorio was also responsible for construction of Robbianetta, the great horseshoe shaped farmhouse, originally built for horse-breeding purposes.
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