Theater of History and Magnificence
The permanent display of the Reggia
The permanent display of the Reggia, titled Theater of History and Magnificence, is a journey through the history and the art of the House of Savoy that takes visitors on a 2,000-meter walk from the ground floor to the piano nobile of the Royal Palace. The visit begins in the imposing 17th century Hall of Diana and continues through the elegant Great Gallery to a music soundtrack composed by Brian Eno, the solemn Church of St. Hubert, the 18th century architectural masterpieces by Filippo Juvarra and their sumptuous stucco decorations, and Peopling the Palaces - a series of evocative multimedia installations by Peter Greenaway on court life.
In the destiny of Venaria there is a time for splendor and prosperity and a time for neglect, decline and the scattering of all its furnishings. The identity of this place is characterized first by a process of amassing, followed by subtraction. Over the past decade the restoration project retraced and recreated the ancient layout of the Gardens and revived the imposing spaces and the grand architecture of the Palace, while the artistic collection and the furnishings remain inexorably scant, denied by the events of history. The ancient paths to infinity and the unearthed ruins of the Gardens were reinstated with new plants and enriched by contemporary artworks: the extraordinary views of the Reggia and what remains of its original decorations were redesigned as a Theater of Magnificence to narrate ancient and modern tales and to experience the glorious past.
The first part of the display is a presentation of the dynasty that conceived and expanded the Reggia. Historical figures and members of the Court - created by the artistic genius of Peter Greenaway - will accompany the visitor also on the Piano Nobile, across the faithfully recreated 17th century rooms of the original hunting estate and the Palace of Kings, all the way to the ceremonial route of the18th century. In this way the visitors will be able to truly experience this ancient and extraordinary Palace as their own, in the best possible sense.
The Theater of History and Magnificence is organized in two sections:
The basement level, characterized by the fascinating spaces that once housed the court’s kitchen, storage and service rooms, illustrates significant historical facts, themes and events concerning the House of Savoy, from its mythological origins in the year 1000 to the early 19th century, when the main branch of the family went extinct.
The last rooms before climbing up to the Piano Nobile present the transformation that the Reggia underwent over time starting with Castellamonte’s project, with a particularly intriguing “story of unfinished ideas”, that illustrates the plans by Garove, Juvarra and Alfieri that never came into being.
The display continues with a grand Promenade à la cour through the apartments of the Duke and the Duchess of Savoy, the apartments of the King and the Queen, the Great Gallery, the Alfieri Rotunda and the Church of St. Hubert. This was the “ceremonial route” that characterized the 18th century Palace and that today’s visitors are invited to discover, gaining access to the vast spaces of the Reggia and admiring its unique architecture.
Making this journey through the daily life of the court even more tangible is the multimedia installation titled Peopling the Palaces that was created for La Venaria Reale by the acclaimed film director Peter Greenaway.
Restored architectural details, unexpected and breathtaking views, vast spaces, tapestries and historical references: once again, the visitors are invited to step into the magical atmosphere of life at Court for an extraordinary journey through the culture and leisure pursuits of today and of yore.