The Palace of Venaria

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Reggia di Venaria Reale, near Turin, Italy, is one of the largest palaces in the world (80,000 square meters). 

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Charles Emmanuel II began the building of his hunting “lodge” in 1675.  The plan was for a palace, gardens, and hunting woods.  It was later enlarged to be a royal residence of the House of Savoy.

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The Cour d’honneur (“Honor Court”)

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The first rooms we visited were filled with models of the Palace at different times in history.  A group of Italian senior citizens, led by a very loud and emotive tour guide, were touring this part of the palace at the same time as we were, so we moved along quickly to stay ahead of them.

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Some of the palace buildings were damaged in 1693 by the invading French, and in 1699 Duke Victor Amadeus II had the palace modified to French tastes.

During the reign of Charles Emmanuel III, the palace was enlarged with new stables and galleries but it fell into disuse after the fall of the Ancien Régime in the late 1700s.

During Napoleon’s time the palace was used by the military as barracks and the gardens as training grounds.  Later it was used by the Italian army until 1978.  It was sold to the Ministry of Culture and rescued from ruin by a 10 year and 235 million euro restoration project.  The Palace and gardens were opened to the public in 2007 and are now used for art exhibitions and events.

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The Galleria Grande

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The dancing fountain in the Honor Court can be seen from the Galleria.  We were lucky to have this view when they turned on the water and played music to accompany it.

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We took a short lunch break in a lovely spot next to the palace café.

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The chapel of St. Uberto

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Because the church is inside the palace structure, it was impossible to build a dome.  This “dome” is a fresco trompe-l’oeil – amazing!

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The original gardens are long gone but we enjoyed what has been recreated.  The misty rain we experienced in the morning gave way to a lovely afternoon.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our day at Venaria Reale.

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About graciamc

Gracia's Travels is a photo blog. I always take too many pictures on trips so I justify my compulsion with this blog! The blog is mostly photos - they tell the best part of the story. Please contact me if you would like to use any of my photos.
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10 Responses to The Palace of Venaria

  1. Catherine McCabe says:

    Absolutely spectacular! Thoroughly enjoyed it — almost felt like I was there with you! You said it was near Turn — you meant Turin, right? After all the fabulous time you two lovely people have spent in Italy, do you both speak the language now? I’ve never been very good with Italian because of the time I lived with the French family in Colmar plus all the school study, of course. I must say you are the only couple I know who never ever age no matter how many pictures are taken over an impossible length of travel time. You’re very fortunate 😉

    • graciamc says:

      Aachh! Don’t know how I missed Turn for Turin. I’ve fixed it now. Glad you enjoyed the tour. As for looking the same, I keep the camera further and further away!

  2. Mary Holm says:

    This is a beautiful introduction to the most spectacular palace I’d never heard of!

  3. jmfre2013 says:

    This is breathtakingly beautiful Gracia; both the palace and the grounds. Thank you for sharing. Janet


  4. Laurel says:

    We visited in January a few years ago and practically had the place t ourselves! Of course, the gardens were not quite so lovely. An amazing rescue, I think. Versailles-like but no crowds!

  5. MONA STAGE says:

    Beautiful pictures, amazing history, looks like a lovely day.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

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