Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Venaria Reale - Turin

"Venaria Reale" is the hunting residence of the Savoy family between the 16th and 18th century. The palace is set in a magnificent park north-East of Turin, at the edge of hills stretching towards the Alps and covered in woodlands.

The palace was used as an army camp and left in disuse for centuries, but it was restored to its original splendour in the new millennium. The interiors of the palace are quite bare and there is no furniture. Instead, the rooms are hosting an exhibition of paintings and rugs mixed with film and photography art that recreates the court life.

We went with our children who found the palace a little bit boring though! The gardens instead have been also restored and it was lovely to stroll around them on a sunny day.

On a practical note, when you reach Venaria you need to follow the indication for the palace that take you to a side entrance. To your right there is a long road with trees either side if it and entering a gate that indicates "La Mandria" park. You need to park along this road. During the week it is free parking, while at weekend there is a fee to pay. You can then walk to the side entrance of the palace or enter from the gardens. Tickets for the gardens and the palace can be bought jointly or separately.

If you intend to have lunch there, it is better if you take your own lunch. We found the cafe in the gardens to have only a limited choice of sandwiches, especially for children. We also had a coffee and ice-cream in a kiosk by the roses archways.

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