Villa della Regina (Villa of the Queen)

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Considered the baroque jewel of Turin, Villa della Regina was erected on a hill and inspired by the typical ancient Roman residence for the nobles. It was actually built in the early 1600s by Prince Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy, the son of Duke Carlo Emanuele I.

In 1657, Maurizio’s wife, Lodovica, enlarged the buildings and the gardens, updating the decorations and the furnishings. In 1692, the property, including a large vineyard, passed to Anna d’Orleans, the wife of Vittorio Amedeo II (hence the name “Villa della Regina” – “Villa of the Queen”), who carried out several major interventions.

Under the guidance of architects Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Pietro Baroni from Tavigliano, the spaces and the different structures in the whole estate were redefined; the furnishings and decorations of the XVII century were then added, as well as the spectacular Italian gardens.

The villa, located in the centre of the gardens, has a grandiose central hall on the main floor, with the extraordinary scenographies by Giuseppe Dallamano, dating back to around 1733;
it also features several paintings by Corrado Giaquinto and Giovan Battista Crosato.
The hall leads to the richly decorated Royal Apartments astoundingly embellished according to the XVIII-century taste for “chinoiserie”.

The garden

The outdoor space is divided into two sections: a flat garden and another one shaped as an amphitheatre and arranged along the slope of the hill. The two green spaces include the main access road, a grand rondeau with the fountain of Neptune, the court of honour, a courtyard of honour or “esedra”, the wild king’s cave, the “garden of flowers”, the garden shaped like a theatre, the little Naiad waterfall, the mascherone fountain, the upper Belvedere, the Solinghi Pavilion, Camillini wood, the north belvedere, the service building – formerly Palazzo Chiablese – the vineyard, “casa del vignolante”, and the vegetable gardens.

In 1868, the whole estate was given to an institute for the daughters of military personnel, an institution which was then suppressed in 1975. Despite this change of ownership, the consistency of the initial project (connecting the vineyard, the villa, the pavilions, the caves, the water features in the gardens and the park, as well as the service and agricultural areas) was thoroughly respected and preserved. However, the lack of maintenance of that very delicate balance between the buildings and the green areas was eventually followed by gradual abandonment, partial dismemberments, war damages and improper interventions – during the XX century, all that lack of proper care dramatically compromised the extraordinary complex, leading to degradation and the risk of collapse.

In 1994, the handover to the Superintendence for Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of Piedmont triggered some major restorations, carried out with the state, corporate and private funds: they managed to restore the whole estate and, in 2006, the eventual grand reopening of the complex; some internal spaces have been used for public functions ever since, including the headquarters of the Regional Center for Documentation and Cataloging of Cultural Heritage.

Worth Knowing

In the XVII-XVIII centuries, the term “vineyard” actually identified a hilltop residence with a vine cultivation area, as well as the favourite residence of many spouses of the Savoy rulers (from the first half of the XVIII century onwards).

The first estate of this kind was precisely Villa della Regina (Queen Anna d’Orleans, the wife of Vittorio Amedeo II: it quickly became a model for the “vineyards” and the villas of Piedmont aristocracy and upper-middle class.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Strada Santa Margherita, 79 - Torino(TO)

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