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Official Web site: Villa della Regina
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The Villa della Regina stands on the Turin hill, commissioned by Cardinal Maurizio, the younger son of Duke Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy. Cardinal Maurizio, who later became the Prince of Oneglia in 1641 after leaving the Church and marrying Ludovica, the thirteen-year-old granddaughter of Madame Royale Maria Cristina of France, took inspiration from the villas of the Roman hills to build this sumptuous residence.

Villa Ludovica

The project was entrusted in 1615 to the court architect Ascanio Vittozzi. Unfortunately, he passed away in the same year. The construction was then assigned to Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte. Initially it called Villa Ludovica, in honor of Maurizio’s wife.

Villa della Regina
Pavilion of the Solinghi Accademy

The building presents itself as a sumptuous countryside residence, surrounded by gardens, woods, and vineyards. Here, the cardinal enjoyed entertaining philosophers, writers, scientists, and intellectuals of all kinds. To make the environment more comfortable, he had a pavilion built, called the Pavilion of the Solinghi Academy, dedicated to hosting these gatherings.

The glories of Villa della Regina

At the death of the cardinal in 1657, the property passes to his wife Ludovica, who expands the structure by building the side turrets. After Ludovica’s death in 1692, the Villa is inherited by Anna Maria d’Orleans, the wife of Duke Vittorio Amedeo II. The duchess made it her favorite residence, adapting it to her opulent Parisian tastes through the interventions of Filippo Juvarra.

The hall of honor

In 1713, Vittorio Amedeo II obtains the royal title, and Anna d’Orleans becomes queen. Her preference for this residence leads to renaming it Villa della Regina, a name it still bears today.

Thanks to Juvarra’s intervention, the Villa transforms into a splendid “pleasure” residence, where the court enjoys spending time. It becomes a tradition for the rulers to spend the entire month of September here, starting with the celebrations on the eighth day, commemorating the liberation of the siege of Turin in 1706.

Other expansion projects, such as the stables and the guardhouse, are carried out between 1760 and 1780. During the French occupation, the Villa is spared from combat and included in Napoleon’s imperial heritage; he stayed there in 1805.

Decline

With the transfer of the capital of the Kingdom of Italy to Rome, Villa della Regina is donated to the National Institute for the Daughters of Military Personnel, and starting from 1865, it is used as a women’s college. King Umberto I later transferred many of the furnishings to the Quirinal Palace.

Villa della Regina
King’s bedroom

The bombings of World War II significantly damaged Villa della Regina. Some buildings erected during the expansion of 1760-80 were destroyed, as well as the vault and some salons of the main structure.

From 1943 onward, Villa della Regina was abandoned, and the college was closed. In 1975, the National Institute for the Daughters of Military Personnel was shut down. With the definitive closure of the institution, the Villa and its gardens fell into oblivion and decay. The entire area was covered by vegetation, totaling 400,000 cubic meters of plants.

Rebirth

In 1994, Villa della Regina was transferred to the Superintendency for Artistic Heritage of Piedmont, which undertook pest control and restoration work. After 10 years of effort, the Villa reopened in 2007. The following year witnessed the first harvest of Chieri freesia grapes in the vineyard of the Villa.

Since 2012, Villa della Regina has been regularly open to the public, although advance booking is required.

Interior and gardens

Villa della Regina presents itself as a typical seventeenth-century residence surrounded by a splendid Italian garden.

Theater of Water

The entrance is characterized by the Grand Rondeau of Neptune, a majestic fountain with the basin adorned by statues and sculptures representing marine deities.

The two staircases on either side lead to the Court of Honor, which provides access to the Villa. On the opposite side, behind the entrance, there is the Court of Honor, which, through a series of stairs and terraces, leads to the Garden of Flowers. Circular and concentric paths form the amphitheater-like garden, connecting the avenues that lead to the North Belvedere and the Pavilion of the Solinghi.

Villa della Regina
The vineyard

The interior is characterized by the splendid Juvarrian Hall on the noble floor, a representative space in Villa della Regina decorated by Corrado Giaquinto, a Rococo painter. Also of note are the four Oriental-style cabinets, richly decorated as was customary in the eighteenth century.

The vineyard of Villa della Regina

The vineyard of Villa della Regina Also worth remembering is the royal vineyard, from which up to 5000 bottles of wine are produced. Predominantly Freisa, which has been awarded the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) label since 2011. The production is entrusted to the Balbiano company in the Chieri area. Thus, Turin joins Paris and Vienna as one of the few European cities to have an urban vineyard.

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