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From the World Heritage inscription for the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy:
When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a vast series of building projects (continued by his successors) to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. This outstanding complex of buildings, designed and embellished by the leading architects and artists of the time, radiates out into the surrounding countryside from the Royal Palace in the ‘Command Area’ of Turin to include many country residences and hunting lodges.
Italy has more World Heritage sites than any other county. It seems as if every city in Italy has one and Turin is no exception. There are many palaces around and in Turn built by the Duke of Savoy. A quick walk to the center of town will let you see several of them.
The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy is a complex made up of buildings within Turin in the Province of Turin, Italy. It was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 for its cultural value. The House of Savoy comprises of the ancient royal family and was founded in 1003 within the Savoy region. By 1720, this ancient royal family reigned in Sardinia, Italy. Since it was founded in France, it worked with its junior branch in Carignano to fully establish its kingdom in Italy.
The buildings found within the residential complex in Turin represent this long-running history of dominance and rule of the royal family. The building and its lavish construction and embellishments reflect the power and grandeur of the royal family that once inhabited it. According to the UNESCO website, these buildings express a “potent demonstration of the power of an absolute monarchy in material terms”.
About the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy are distributed in two major locations: Turin and Piedmont. Both of these locations are within Italy. Each site comprises of its own set of buildings and structures that have ties with the history, rule, and power of the House of Savoy.
The properties within Turin are as follows:
- Royal Palace of Turin: This is a historic palace in the reign of the House of Savoy. It is located in Turin, Italy. It was built in the 16th century and was modernized in the 17th century.
- Palazzo Madama: This is another palace in Turin that was included in the UNESCO World Heritage property listing. It served as the first Senate for the Italian Kingdom.
- Palazzo Carignano: This historical building in Turin is where the Museum of the Risorgimento is located. It also served as the private residence for the princes of Carignano, after which the building was named.
- Castello del Valentino: This historic building is one of many structures belonging within the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. It is currently the seat of the Architecture Faculty of the Polytechnic University of Turin.
- Villa della Regina: This 17th-century palace is located in Turin that was originally built for Prince-Cardinal Maurice of Savoy. It is a private villa with its own vineyard.
Meanwhile, these are the properties located in Piedmont:
- Palazzina di Stupinigi: Listed as one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, this royal hunting lodge was built in the early 18th century. The original castle was owned by the Lords of Piedmont and changed ownership until it was re-designed and made it into a hunting lodge.
- Reggia di Venaria Reale: The Palace of Venaria is a former royal residence that was designed and built by Amedeo di Castellamonte in the late 17th century.
- Castle of La Mandria: The Castle of La Mandria is another royal residence that is among the properties listed in the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy.
- Castle of Rivoli: This was once a royal residence in Piedmont, Italy but is now home to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Turin. The castle was built sometime in the 9th or 10th century.
- Castle of Agliè: This elegant and imposing building stands on the municipality of Aglie and is one of the royal residences for the House of Savoy. It was built around the 12th century.
- Castle of Moncalieri: This palace is located in Piedmont and was initially built as a fortress in the 12th century. It was in the mid-15th century when it was converted into a royal residence.
- Castle of Racconigi: This palace and landscape park is one of the properties included in the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy recognized by UNESCO. It served as the official residence for House of Savoy line in Carignano.
- Pollenzo Estate: This royal estate was built in the 12th century and has undergone many renovations so the current style is different from the original structure. However, it is most notably recognized for its Neo-Gothic architecture.
- Castle of Govone: This baroque castle completes the list of the royal residences and structures in Piedmont. It was constructed in the late 18th century although it was built on an older building that dates back to the 14th century.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.