There are many things to do in Turin in Piedmont but if you like castle you can’t miss the Palace of Venaria just some minutes far from Turin. The Venaria Palace (“Reggia di Venaria“) is one of the Savoy Residences entered in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a wonderful and huge complex close to Turin that has experienced a turbulent history.
In fact, after years of neglect has been restored to its former splendor only at the beginning of the third millennium.
Wanted by Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy to link his name to that of his wife, the Palace was finished at the end of XVII century, but already the beginning of the ‘700 underwent the first looting by the French army and the armies of Napoleon.
In his “golden” period the Venaria Palace was inhabited up to five hundred people, including servants and all the court of the royal family so that the Royal Palace was a small city of fun and pleasure. It was also the center of policy and decisions too.
In 1798 with the Napoleonic occupation, however, the Palace of Venaria ended to be a royal residence and began a period of slow but inexorable decline for this mansion. Its beautiful gardens, stuccoes and treasures were forgotten and covered by the dust of time and the Palace was even used as a warehouse. Unknown vandals made havoc of its precious stained glass windows and richly decorated rooms.
The “Reggia di Venaria” – the Palace of Venaria – became a monument to the past – “the lost Palace” as someone called it – until in 1997 began the restoration work.
The Palace now is really gorgeous, a residence with full of charm that is able to rival the ones of the other European royalty. The stuccoes have been restored to their former glory and the large windows allow light to flood the rooms decorated with paintings and tapestries.
Outside the gardens are bursting with color. Obviously, many of the frescoes, but also many of the original furniture and tapestries that decorated the walls, have been lost, looted or irreparably damaged, but the restorers have done an amazing job bringing to life Venaria Reale.
For us, the Venaria Palace was a wonderful discovery, even more appreciated for the fact that we found some little surprises that have made us smile and entertain our baby: the “Fantacasino“ with its games, the gondola, the coaches and the train that whizzes on the long avenues.
I found a princely atmosphere that I have experienced in other European royal houses like Versailles, but that I never expected to find a few steps away from Turin! This city surprised me again, just like in the past!
Information for visiting the Royal Palace of Venaria Reale with children
How to reach the Venaria Palace
The Royal Palace is located in the town of Venaria Reale, not far from Turin by car.
Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office of the village or even in the garden. You can choose from several options by buying the ticket for the Palace and Gardens, only the gardens, or even just for exhibitions. You can also buy the ticket for the Castello della Mandria (Castle of the Herd), but please note that it is about two miles away.
What to see in the Palace of Venaria
If the museum and the royal rooms may not be very interesting for the kids, the park with swans, the train or a carriages on the gondola are certainly more suitable for a child.
Beautiful is then Fantacasino, a covered pavilion with games all made of wood and natural materials.
You can visit the vegetable gardens where different types of vegetables grows, from the European ones to the more exotic! 🙂
At 12:00 pm and 19:30 (but check times at the entrance, however, as they may vary depending on the season) then there is the spectacle of the dancing fountains just in front of the main entrance.
Where to eat in the Palace of Venaria
For lunch you can enjoy the picnic area in the park of Venaria Palace or just seat at one of the bars that are located in the gardens and in the villa.
Note that you can enter and exit from the gardens as you please, then you could also dine in the ancient village in one of the many restaurants just outside of the complex.
Things to do in Turin: what to see with children
Turin, in Piedmont region, is really a city full of life and you can enjoy it with your children. If you are going to spend some days in Turin in this article you can find our suggestions about what to do in the city with kids.
If you have some more days and you children love animals you can also visit the Zoom Zoological Park – a sort of Zoo without cages – where kids can meet lemur, hippos, tigers and penguins. This park is very close to Turin and here some informations about the visit with children.