A hunting lodge and a display of love

Built at the time when the Reggia of Venaria was created to raise purebred horses, Vittorio Emanuele II then turned this into
his favourite residence. Here the king could enjoy hunting far from his duties at the court, as well as indulge his many passions and his love for Rosa Vercellana, for whom the castle was intended. The Royal Apartments, fully furnished and preserved, have 20 intimate, private rooms which reveal the king’s preferences and taste. In addition to the historic significance of the castle, its park is an important natural asset, where centuries-old trees and architectural gems can be found.

La Mandria Castle, tucked away amidst the natural beauty of the Regional Park of the same name just a few kilometres from the Reggia di Venaria, was chosen by King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy to crown his dream of love with Rosa Vercellana (known as la Bela Rosin), who was appointed Countess of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda. In 1853, the king decided to convert the old stables, designed in the early 18th century by Michelangelo Garove for breeding thoroughbred horses, into a residence that soon became his favourite place. To this end, the king purchased the large estate directly in 1863, for the sum of 200,000 lira. The perimeter wall, standing three metres tall and stretching around the state for approximately thirty kilometres, delimited the area designated for hunting activities and protected the king from prying eyes.
The work to adapt the Castle, directed by architects Barnaba Panizza and Domenico Ferri, was carried out relatively quickly, between 1860 and 1863. The new Royal Apartment, designed above the old stables facing the Reggia, comprises a linear succession of twenty rooms, distributed along a long corridor.
The direction of Ferri, who took over the post of Royal Decorator from Palagi, covered every aspect: numerous craftsmen were employed to supply furniture, paintings, tapestries, fabrics and ornaments. The ceilings were decorated with paintings by Carlo, Placido and Domenico Mossello, Felice Vigna and Francesco Gonin, depicting floral elements, especially roses, and allegorical fables alluding to amorous themes. The furnishings were made by the Fratelli Levera company, observing an innovative and modern style, combining luxury and comfort.
The everyday and familiar character of the apartments reveals the private aspects of the life of the king and la Bela Rosin, as a couple which, distanced from the duties of court, was spent between the cosy drawing rooms and hunting expeditions in the immense grounds still populated by stags, fallow deer and wild boar.
When Vittorio Emanuele II died, first the castle and then the estate became the property of the Marquises Medici del Vascello (1882-1887), who slowly transformed the hunting reserve into a farm dedicated to agriculture and the breeding of livestock. Restoration of the complex began after 1976, when part of the estate was purchased by the Region of Piedmont, which established the protected area of the Park of La Mandria, in order to protect and develop the considerable natural and cultural heritage, which can now be enjoyed along hiking trails amidst trees that are hundreds of years old and small architectural gems.
In the rooms of the Royal Apartments, the expression of a precious and accomplished mid-19th century decorative project, adhering to a European-style bourgeois model, one can still breathe in the intimate and cosy atmosphere desired by Vittorio Emanuele II, thanks to the recent refurbishment carried out on the basis of an inventory from 1879.
Management of the Royal Apartments have recently been handed over to the Consorzio delle Residenze Reali Sabaude.
Viale Carlo Emanuele II, 256 – Venaria Reale (TO)
+39 011 499 2333



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