The Palazzina di Caccia Stupinigi is part of the circuit of the Savoy Residences in Piedmont, a serial site proclaimed World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Designed by Filippo Juvarra in 1729 on the will of Vittorio Amedeo II, it is now owned by the Fondazione Mauriziano. The Palazzina conserves its original furniture, paintings and masterpieces. Since 1919 it has also housed the Museum of Furniture, as well as hosting periodically international art exhibitions.
Palazzina di Caccia Stupinigi History
From the heart of the city of Turin starts a straight avenue that opens after almost ten kilometers in the large square where stands the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi , one of the masterpieces of Filippo Juvarra, who gave here his original interpretation of the baroque scenographic expressions expressing the whole his mastery.
The complex was started in 1729 on commission of Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoia, on the lands that already in medieval age had a small castle still visible. In 1730 the central part was completed and after the departure of Juvarra from Turin in 1735, the construction work continued under the guidance of local architects, including Benedetto Alfieri, who worked above all on interiors richly decorated with paintings and frescoes by Cignaroli, Van Loo and Perego.
The building was extended during the reigns of Carlo Emanuele III and Vittorio Amedeo III with the contribution of architects such as Bo, Prunotto and Alfieri adding the wings hosting the stables and the agricultural sheds. Even Napoleon Bonaparte stayed at the Palazzina, from 5 to 16 May 1805, before going to Milan to wrap the Iron Crown. In 1808 Paolina Bonaparte also stayed for short periods with his wife Camillo Borghese, at the time governor general of Piedmont. On 12 April 1842 the marriage between Vittorio Emanuele II, the future first King of Italy, and Maria Adelaide of Habsburg-Lorraine was celebrated here.
During the 800 the park of the Palazzina di Stupinigi hosted an Indian elephant, arrived in Turin as a gift from the Viceroy of Egypt Mohamed Ali for the King of Sardinia Carlo Felice. The elephant Fritz lived in Stupinigi for over 20 years becoming very famous among the population, as evidenced by the many photographs of the era with the pachyderm surrounded by crowds. Unfortunately, after a few years the animal went crazy and began to damage its surroundings, killing one of the keepers as well. In 1852 it was demolished and the embalmed body donated to the University of Turin is currently on display at the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences in Turin.
The structure is composed of a central core with a large hall from which four lower arms form a cross of Sant'Andrea where the royal apartments and accommodation for guests are located. The fulcrum of the building is the magnificent elliptical salon where a large fresco, the work of the Valeriani brothers, represents the myth of Diana, goddess of hunting. From the elliptical salon you pass to the Anticamera della Regina, frescoed by the artists Corsato and Casolo, with four large paintings depicting some princesses of the House of Savoy. The Anticamera del Re is also connected to the elliptical salon, where frescoes and furniture in Louis XV and Louis XVI style admirably decorate the environment. Famous in the Palazzina, the Sala del Bonzanigo, so called for the cabinet with the dual function of bookcase and desk, presents classicist style furniture in contrast with the Baroque style and presents stuccos and frescoes by Pietro Domenico Olivero and Giovanni Battista Alberoni. The Anticappella, once called Sala dei buffetti, was used as a chapel in 1767 and dedicated to Sant'Uberto and the ceilings decorated and stuccoed by Gaetano Perego, Giacomo Borri and Ignazio Nepote. The Sala degli Scudieri, also connected to the main hall, was one of the first rooms to be frescoed and features frescoes on the doors and an extra-work by Cignaroli depicting hunting scenes. Also worth seeing is the gallery of portraits, once a room used as a stable, with fifty-four paintings on the sides representing some members of the Savoy family.
The complex is housed in a vast park designed in 1740 by Michel Benard. Originally in the French style, during the 19th century it gradually lost its formal and geometrical characteristics to gradually transform itself into a landscape park in the English style.