Also known as La Venaria Reale, Venaria Reale is one of the most important cultural and architectural sites and monuments in all of Europe, in addition to being one of the largest royal palaces in the whole world. It is here where you can witness the highest expressions of Italian as well as non-Italian Baroque art and architecture. Consisting of 80,000 square metres of buildings and 60 hectares of garden areas, Venaria Reale was also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Considered to be the largest cultural restoration initiative ever taken in the European continent, Venaria Reale is also home to masterpieces that transport you back in time, all the way to the 16th and 17th centuries. The estate itself literally translates to all things related to hunting, but is a whole lot more than just that. It is home to tapestries, frescoes, paintings and sculptures, all of which have a timeless charm, thereby making it an iconic example of 17th century architecture.
The Great Gallery, or Galleria Grande is one of the best Venaria Reale Masterpieces, dating back to the 18th century. The Gallery boasts of wide spaces decorated with stuccoes and tapestries, and was used to connect the king’s apartment to the apartment of the heir to the throne. Designed by Pietro Filippo Somasso, Giuseppe Bolina, Antonio Papa and Giovambattista Sanbartolomeo, the gallery boasted a height of 15 metres in the centre of the vault, in addition to a length of 80 metres and width of 12 metres. There are 44 large windows in the gallery, with 22 large oval openings inside, which create a stunning display of light beams.
Another one of the Venaria Reale Masterpieces is the Gall of Diana, located in the heart of the palace. The hall is rectangular in shape, and boasts of many stuccoes and illustrations of hunting. It is also home to the frescoed vault of Olympus by Jan Miel. Around 10 other paintings by Jan Miel are also located here, all of which bear a hunting theme. The hall was used for banquets and receptions during the 17th century.
The Chapel of St. Hubert was built between 1716 and 1729, and is particularly known for its Greek cross plan, wherein two large altars are placed at the sides of the transept and four circular chapels are placed on the diagonals. The main attraction here is the high altar, which seems to be suspended when you look at it, with a tabernacle of marble angels in the back. You can also see four statues of the Doctors of the Church namely Sant'Agostino, Sant'Ambrogio, Sant'Atanasio and San Giovanni Crisostomo, placed around the central pillars.
The Juvarra Stables are some of the most impressive Venaria Reale Masterpieces, in addition to being great examples of the European Baroque style of architecture. The stables are the abode of Bucentaur, which was commissioned by Vittorio Amedeo II between 1729 and 1731. It is also the only Bucentaur of its kind, and was designed in Venice. As of today, the Juvarra Stables act as a place for the Scuderia Grande and Citroniera, which once could contain over 200 horses and more than 400 carts of citrus fruits.
The Fluid Sculpture Garden is another Venaria Reale Masterpiece, which was built on land sprawling over 3 hectares of area. Designed by Giuseppe Penone, the Garden of Fluid Sculptures is particularly known for its bronze trees, fountains and numerous groves. It takes its inspiration from the Garden of Fountains which was designed for the park of Venaria Palace, and serves as a sensory place, where different materials are used to mark the transition from one sculpture of another, thereby showcasing the constant state of fluidity between all the elements, such as trees, water, marble, granite, bronze, etc.
Another one of the Venaria Reale Masterpieces is the Water Theatre of the Fontana del Cervo, or the Fountain of the Stag. It is from here where you can soak in views of the entire estate, and witness the difference in the structure which was built by different architects throughout the years. The fountain of the stage, today, acts as a historical reference to this ancient site, which still houses the remains of the foundations and some parts of the decorations which were destroyed several centuries ago. The water theatre, on the other hand, has 100 water nozzles with a height of up to 12 metres, complete with steam ducts and colourful projectors, making it one of the most beautiful fountains in the whole world.
Why visit Venaria Reale?
You must visit Venaria Reale to catch a glimpse of the age-old heritage and culture of the estate as well as that of the town of Turin. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is said to be one of the most beautiful and spectacular representations of the European Baroque style of architecture not just in Europe, but also in the world.
How many masterpieces are there in Venaria Reale?
There are over 200 masterpieces in Venaria Reale, which have been categorised and divided into the different elements and rooms inside the estate. The major masterpieces of Venaria Reale are the Great Gallery, the Hall of Diana, the Church of Saint Hubert, the Juvarra Stables, and the Garden of Fluid Sculptures, along with the Water Theatre at the Fountain of the Stag.
What is the best time to visit Venaria Reale?
The best time to visit Venaria Reale is during the early afternoon, around 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. It is during this time that there is a relatively lesser crowd here, which will give you a chance to explore the estate at your own pace.
Why are Venaria Reale's Masterpieces famous?
The masterpieces of Venaria Reale are famous all around the world, as they rank as some of the best examples of the age-old European style of art and architecture. They are also famous for being some of the highest expressions of Italian and non-Italian baroque art.
How long does it take to explore Venaria Reale?
It takes anywhere between 3 to 4 hours to explore the entirety of Venaria Reale. 4 hours is enough to explore the palace, see the masterpieces inside as well as visit the gardens and see the other attractions inside Venaria Reale.
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