The Royal Castle of Racconigi, located in the town of the same name a short distance from Turin, after being the home of princes and kings for centuries, has now become a highly frequented museum pole and is part of the circuit of Savoy Residences in Piedmont included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Castello Reale di Racconigi History
Founded around the 11th century as a fortified house in the Marca of Turin, Racconigi Castle later became part of the possessions of the Marquis of Saluzzo and then to the Savoy.
The original fortified structure with corner towers was transformed during the seventeenth century: in 1670, in conjunction with the elevation of the castle to the residence of the Savoy-Carignano family, André Le Nôtre designed the garden; in 1676 Guarino Guarini undertook a global renovation of the building, never completed. Starting in 1755, the works were resumed by the architect Giambattista Borra by the will of Prince Louis of Savoy-Carignano: the pavilions on the main façade date back to this phase, the large entrance pronaos, the hall characterized by the so-called "music lodge", Diana's room and Chinese toilets. But it is with the rise to the throne of Carlo Alberto, prince of Carignano, that the residence took on its current appearance: in 1820 the German gardener Xavier Kurten redesigned the green spaces, while the decorations and the rearrangement of the internal rooms were entrusted to the architect Pelagio Palagi. At the same time, the neo-Gothic service buildings of the Serre and Margaria were built on the edge of the park, intended for the agricultural management of the territory belonging to the castle. With the transfer of the capital from Turin to Florence and then to Rome, the royals gradually lost interest in the castle, at least until the early twentieth century, when King Vittorio Emanuele III elected it again as a holiday resort in the summer and autumn months . Here, in 1904, the last king of Italy Umberto II was born and a series of important events followed one another: in 1909 the residence was the visit of Tsar Nicholas II, while in 1925 the wedding of Princess Mafalda took place.
The castle was purchased in 1980 by the Italian state. Reopened in 1994, the residence can be visited for the most part and is subject to constant conservative restorations aimed at preserving the structure and restoring the noble floors of the building to its former glory. The castle represents one of the best preserved Savoy residences, boasting a large collection of furnishings, paintings and furnishings and is constantly home to events and cultural events.
The sumptuous apartments are evidence of the most significant phases of transformation that the castle underwent from the seventeenth century until the beginning of the twentieth: stuccos, frescoes and furnishings constitute a significant panorama of the changing taste of the court over the course of about four hundred years. The gardens and park keep the nineteenth-century structure intact, characterized by a romantic structure with waterways, ponds, caves and monuments.