sabato 16 novembre 2013

Exploring Piemonte: Racconigi castle, the Savoia summer residence

In Piemonte there is a big choice when you want to visit one of the Savoy residences [former italian royal family]: there are the official residences, the winter ones, the summerones or even the spa.
It 's always interesting to see how in the past centuries the choice of where to stay, even for a short period of the year, was so important but never done randomly or at risk.

Try to linger and think about where they built the buildings, the palaces, the castles: the places are healthy, cool in summer and well exposed in winter, in the vicinity of hot springs from which benefit or tactically deployed in the area.
In the province of Cuneo, when you think of the Savoy family, you immediately think of the Racconigi Castle.



In this castle , which was owned by the Savoy family from the end of 1400, the royals spent their summer holidays, and controlled the surrounding area very close to the border with France.
The current version of the castle, after the changes of the architects Guarino Guarini and Filippo Juvarra to mention the most known , dates back to the thirties of 1800.
The last modernization, but not significant with regard to the exterior architecture , date back to the years of World War II when Maria José and Umberto II spent several months a year in this residence.
Umberto II was particularly linked to Racconigi because he was born here in 1904.

The Castle, which is located in the town center, is impressive and it is definitely a point of reference for the people of Racconigi and for all those who come to town.
The speculation of 60s-70s of last century has unfortunately partly "forced " the castle : some buildings used for residential purposes are directly overlooking the courtyard entrance .

Castle tours are guided , you can not access the inside of the residence without being accompanied by the organization staff.
In case of group visits it is convenient to book to be sure to reserve a preferred time .



The visit takes place within the castle, on the first floor, second floor and residential kitchens in the basement.



In some special cases, the direction of the castle opens to visitors even the mezzanine floor, which was inhabited by the nurses and staff of service of the princes.
Some of the rooms are really very special and deserve a visit to the royal residence: the Salone d'Ercole, the Gallery of Portraits, the Etruscan Cabinet [reception room of the King] and the Chinese apartments.



The grand staircase allows us to understand the relationships and the descendants of the House of Savoy. On the walls there is in fact a huge family tree and coats of arms of many of the families related to the Royal Family.



Often in the castle temporary exhibitions of great importance are also held.
For current information you should visit the site of the Castle of Racconigi



Behind the castle there is a huge park of 170 hectares.
The park is open only in fine weather. In case of bad weather it is closed to prevent possible accidents given the considerable size of some trees.
Only the park is worth a visit in its own and if you want to spend an afternoon in nature in the quiet you should wander aimlessly and get lost among the various paths.
You will discover the beautiful and imposing trees, ponds and buildings scattered here and there think how definitely they had to give rest and shelter for real during their walks. 
In 2010, the park of the Castle of Racconigi won the "most beautiful park in Italy" prize.
One of the oldest trees in the park, which has also become a symbol of merchandising, is the Zelkova.

At the bottom of the park, about 2 km from the Castle, there are Margarie and Serre . The King Carlo Alberto built the first to increase the agricultural activity and the second , known all over Europe , to produce and cultivate exotic plants.
In this area , which can be visited separately and which can be accessed via an entrance placed at the bottom of the wall of the castle, are often organized events of great importance.
The "festival of the readers" is an annual event, as well as the summer concerts of classical music which take place in a magical and spectacular ambiance.

credits of www.vespaitalia150.it
Racconigi Castle can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 18.20 .
The entrance fee is 5 € , inclusive of the guide.
The tours are exclusively guided and groups may not exceed 25 units .

The Racconigi Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 19 [ from 10 to 18 during the winter ] .
It is advisable to always ensure the opening of the park as weather conditions are crucial on openings and closures .
The ticket price is 2 €

For information, please contact tel. 0172-84005

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