This post is by Marica Gatti.
Turin and its surroundings are home to the UNESCO listed Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. These estates include 22 buildings (several of which are inside the Royal Palace), with eleven in the centre of Turin and the remaining 11 located around the city, according to a well-constructed radial plan. These residences are Baroque masterpieces, and are an essential sight when travelling to Turin.
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The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy is a complex of buildings where Italy’s former royal family lived or spent leisure periods. These buildings have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 for their cultural and artistic value.
Inhabited by the dukes of Savoy from 1562, the construction of the Royal Residences followed an ambitious plan. In that year, the capital of the Duchy of Savoy moved from Chambéry in France to Turin, and since then, the Italian city has become a symbol of royalty and elegance.
The royal family built and renovated beautiful estates to make Turin one of Europe’s greatest royal capitals. UNESCO regards the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy as outstanding examples of Baroque monumental architecture and urban planning that will testify to the power of the regents of the Savoy family for centuries to come.
Built in the 16th century, the Royal Palace is an imposing structure in one of Turin’s most beautiful squares. The sumptuous white façade, the opulent interiors, and the perfectly tailored gardens make the Royal Palace an unmissable attraction. Today, the palace houses the Royal Museums of Turin.
Sitting beside the Royal Palace on Piazza Castello, Palazzo Madama was the home of the royal family. The building boasts two completely different façades, one Baroque and one medieval, making this palace unique.
Castello Del Valentino
Located in the stunning Valentino Park alongside the Po River, the Castello del Valentino has two very different façades: one white and elegant and the other in darkish bricks.
The birthplace of the first King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, Palazzo Carignano has an unusual curved façade. Today it hosts the National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento.
Villa Della Regina
Sitting atop a hill from where stunning views of the city can be admired, the 17th century Villa della Regina nestles in a lush landscape with vineyards, where excellent Freisa wine is produced.
Reggia Di Venaria Reale
Designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte in the late 17th century, this residence was used by the House of Savoy as a base for their hunting expeditions.
Castello Della Mandria
This residence has a stunning location: it rises inside the La Mandria Regional Park, the second-largest enclosed park in Europe. The palace is entirely made of terracotta so that it harmonises with the landscape.
Castello Di Rivoli
The Savoy rulers acquired this medieval castle in the 11th century. Today, it houses a Contemporary Art Museum.
Palazzina Di Stupinigi
This castle was used as a hunting lodge by the royal family. One of its most impressive spots is the Central Hall, with its detailed frescoed vaulting and giant chandelier.
Castello Di Moncalieri
This castle dates back to 1100. It was expanded in the mid 15th century when the wife of Duke Amadeus IX turned it into a summer residence.
Castello Di Racconigi
This wonderful castle in the province of Cuneo is characterised by a pagoda-like rooftop, and is surrounded by a landscaped park.
Castello Ducale Di Agliè
This elegant building boasts a monumental façade with a fountain and 300 rooms. It was used as the location for several Italian series, including the popular Elisa di Rivombrosa.
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Castello Di Pollenzo
Located in an ancient Roman town, this castle was built in the 12th century. Its most notable trait is its Neo-Gothic architecture.
Castello Di Govone
Standing on top of a hill, this castle is a perfect example of the Baroque style. One of the most interesting aspects of the residence is the use of precious Chinese wallpapers to decorate the rooms.
How To Visit The Residences Of The Royal House Of Savoy
The royal residences in Turin’s city centre can be easily reached on foot. The furthest away is Villa della Regina, which is only a 30 minute walk from the Mole Antonelliana. The other Savoy palaces are scattered around Piedmont, so renting a car is the best way to discover them. However, the various towns are well-connected to Turin by train, which is a great option if you don’t want to drive.
For expert cyclists, there is also a bike path called the “Crown of Delights”, which is 90 km long and stretches between several of the royal estates.
Finally, if you plan on visiting the Residences Of The Royal House Of Savoy, consider purchasing a Royal Pass. This special 4 day ticket gives access to all the estates.
Marica Gatti was born and raised in Italy and currently lives in Rome. With a degree in Cultural Anthropology and a true passion for travelling, she works as a freelance travel writer as she loves writing about her experiences in Italy and beyond.