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    Venaria Reale

    Inside Courtyard of the Reggia of Venaria Reale

    At first, in the sixteenth century, was Altessano Superiore, to stand out from the Lower Altessano that, it seems, had a less salubrious climate due to the less elevated position. The name “Venaria” was given when the Duke Carlo Emanuele II, in 1600, built a hunting lodge which also became the seat of the officers of the Royal hunting. The name derives from the French “Venus”, which means the hunting on horseback.

    Its geographical position, at the confluence of the two rivers Ceronda and Stura di Lanzo, has meant that in 1978 there was born the Mandria Regional Park, one of six parks in Piedmont but above the park began the implementation of Italians Regional Parks. The Parco della Mandria belongs to the heritage of the Piedmont Region, it houses one of the last patches of plain forest  existing hosts and protect different species of animals in the wild and is an important nesting birds of passage.
    Venaria Reale is the only municipality in the Piedmont to possess two distinct Savoy Residences, the Reggia di Venaria Reale, from the XVIII century, and the Royal Apartments at Borgo Castello, of the nineteenth century, located in the Mandria Regional Park.
    Its historic center is a project of Amedeo di Castellamonte between 1667 and 1690 aimed at creating a worthy urban scenography able to give prominence at the entrance of the palace, a sort of junction with the village full of shops devoted to trade, crafts and construction. The plan of the village, in the ideas of Castellamonte, was supposed to represent the Collar of the Annunziata – the highest honor of the House of Savoy – with the square of the Annunciation which medallion.
    The square is a fine example of Baroque architecture and art, with esedre porches of the buildings at the center of which there are two columns completed by two statues . On one side of the square stands the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary: built between 1664 and 1671, was supposed to have in front of them a twin church in order to make perfectly symmetrical vision of those who had observed the entrance to the palace. The second church was never built, but in its place was built the Civil Hospital entrance and facade similar to that of the religious building.
    But that to which the city owes, especially today, his fame, is the Royal Palace commissioned in 1659 by the Duke Carlo Emanuele II: overly ambitious, the Palace would have to emphasize his power within Europe especially after the duke had took possession of the island of Cyprus. This project was entrusted to the first court architect Amedeo di Castellamonte, who built the palace and the royal gardens, and formed the village to make it consistent to the actual building. The construction of the Palace of Diana lasted 15 years (1660-1675), but already in 1693 the architect Garove Michelangelo was commissioned to renew it in order to adapt to the new tastes of the time. The extension works then resumed in 1716 with Filippo Juvarra when the duchy was transformed into a kingdom. The French period mark the end of the royal palace: after the Restoration, and for all the 800, the entire royal complex was used as a barracks. Today is an architectural marvel annually visited by many visitors who do not hesitate to compare it to other celebratissime royal residences across the Alps, considering even higher. The Reggia di Venaria is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.