“The musical art of hunting horn players” was acknowledged as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2020. The international application, presented at the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi in 2014, was supported by France, Belgium, Italy, and Luxembourg. In Italy, the UNESCO community of players is represented by the group called Equipaggio della Regia Venaria, which operates with the support and technical-scientific coordination of the Accademia di Sant’Uberto.

Corno da caccia
“The musical art of hunting horn players” represents an instrumental technique linked to singing, the mastery of emission and vibrato, the resounding of venues and sociability. In Italy, the players are concentrated in Piedmont, in the Turin area. The instrument associated with the art is the natural “Orléans” horn, in D, still in use today.

The Accademia di Sant’Uberto has also catalogued at the Ministry of Culture the art of the hunting horn, currently known as the “baroque horn”, which is also practiced by the Equipaggio della Regia Venaria, and the art of the Parforce hunting horn in E flat, used in South Tyrol. These two natural horn practices are not yet recognised by the UNESCO. The Accademia di Sant’Uberto is working towards an inclusive development of the art, in agreement with international partners.

It is a practice created for playing outdoors and communicating across great distances. Throughout Europe, this musical art is linked to various festival and public occasions, such as concerts, ceremonies, open-air events, anniversaries, and – above all – the “Feast of Saint Hubert”, the main event in the musical calendar and a popular celebration for all European hunting horn players. On this occasion, it is traditional for the players to perform during the mass in specific liturgical moments, while in the celebrations that follow, a concert is performed with great participation by a wide audience. The connection with open spaces reinforces the emotion for an ancient sound that evokes nature and involves players and the public, spectators or congregation.


The Accademia di Sant’Uberto is a cultural no profit association that has been involved since the mid-1990s in the enhancement of the Royal Residences of the House of Savoy in the cultural identity perspective of the loisir de cour (play at Court), which also included music, the true court life soundscape. The circular hunting horn, created in the mid-17th century for royal hunts, the unique example among musical instruments, was at the time a true status symbol of power and magnificence. In this context, the Accademia has developed various activities, which are interconnected and range from the carrying out of studies, research, publications, exhibitions, and conferences, to the organisation of events, concerts, theme tours and musical projects. The Feast of Saint Hubert at the Reggia of Venaria (To) which, documented since 1669, was restored in 1996. The actual date is 3 November, and the feast is celebrated on the 3rd if it is a Sunday, or on the first Sunday thereafter.

The Accademia di Sant’Uberto organises several concerts of Baroque music every year. The programme of each concert presents to the audience a different cultural proposals, linked to the different occasions in which music was used in court life: royal hunts, religious ceremonies, horse or boat parades, dynastic ceremonies, historical events, concerts. The main types of performances offered include Ceremonial and Entertainment, Nature and Artifice, Music to See, Concert Lectures… whose titles underline the integrated cultural approach advocated by the Accademia of Sant’Uberto.

Baroque music concerts are in synergy with UNESCO sites, particularly within the Piedmont region, and with music training of young students, who are given the use of original Baroque instruments owned by the Accademia and the support of expert tutors. Concerts are usually performed at a Savoy residence, in collaboration with UNESCO application partners. Outside the region concerts are performed at appropriately selected cultural sites.

Corni da caccia - concerto grande

Equipaggio della Regia Venaria

The Equipaggio della Regia Venaria is reborn in 1996, thanks to the initiative of the Accademia di Sant’Uberto, founded in the same year- to revitalize the “art of playing the hunting horn” in Piedmont (type d’Orléans in D, the only case in Italy), lost at the beginning of 20th century. The group proposes a repertoire consisting of fanfares of vènerie (royal hunting, with horses and hounds) and partitions for hunting horn by various composers (Dampierre, Morin, Mouret, Philidor l’Aîné, Charpentier, Rossini, Vivaldi…), a repertoire that was later expanded with current compositions, “fantasies”, and music from the liturgical repertoire. The players of the Equipaggio wear their outfits in the Savoy colours: scarlet and royal blue, which reflect that of the Royal “Equipaggio” of the 18th century, as depicted in the paintings in the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi.
Corni da caccia - fila

Reale scuderia

A brass and percussion ensemble, the Reale Scuderia (Royale stable) is reborn in 2002 from a selection of professionals, chosen through a competition, and takes up in its name the ancient group that was at the Savoy court since 17th century and survived until 1850. The Scuderia started performing at the Savoy residences – both indoors and outdoors – in 2003. During concerts, the musicians wear a specific outfit, always scarlet and royal blue, and employ trumpets and timpani. The repertoire ranges from the 16th to the 18th century (Praetorius, Susato, Torelli, Schmelzer, Fantini, etc.).

The Reale Scuderia participates in Sant’Uberto Feast and baroque music concerts organised by the Accademia di Sant’Uberto.

Venaria corni caccia


Since 2006, the Accademia di Sant’Uberto has created a baroque orchestra from these two brass ensembles, operating with original instruments, aimed at training young talents, also in collaboration with schools (Path for Transversal Skills and Orientation – PCTO – activities), such as the Classical and Music High School Cavour in Turin, which is one of the UNESCO nomination partners.


The international conference organised by the Accademia di Sant’Uberto (Reggia of Venaria, 20-21st February 2020) and the publication that followed, “The Hunting Horn. Music at Court between Piedmont and Europe (16th-19th centuries)”, showed how the horns represented by Jan Miel in the Hall of Diana (1659-1661) are the world’s oldest representation of a circular horn. Within the UNESCO framework, the Accademia di Sant’Uberto holds an annual course on the Orléans hunting horn, taught by masters of the Equipaggio della Regia Venaria, and on the baroque horn, taught by internationally distinguished experts. Lessons are held at the Accademia’s musical operational headquarters in the Reggia, with special attention paid to young students. The two training course concerts, in spring and at Christmas, are held at the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi and at the Reggia of Venaria.


Equipaggio della Regia Venaria

Hunting horn players of the Accademia of Sant’Uberto

The musical art of hunting horn players has been inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020.