The residence of the House of Savoy, begun in 1645 and designed by the Francophile count of Castellamonte, reflects the ornately baroque tastes of European ruling families of the time -- a fact that will not be lost on you as you pass from one opulently decorated, heavily gilded room to the next. (The Savoys had a keener eye for paintings than for decor, and most of the canvases they collected are in the nearby Galleria Sabauda.) Most notable here are some of the tapestries, including the Gobelins depicting the life of Don Quixote, in the Sala delle Virtu (Hall of Virtues), and the collection of Chinese and Japanese vases in the Sala dell'Alcova. One of the quirkier architectural innovations, though not open to the public, is an antidote to several monumental staircases, a manually driven elevator from the 18th century.
One wing houses the Armeria Reale, one of the most important arms and armor collections in Europe, especially of weapons from the 16th and 17th centuries. Behind the palace, and offering a refreshing change from its frippery, are the Giardini Reali (Royal Gardens), laid out by Le Nôtre, more famous for Paris's Tuileries park and the gardens at Versailles.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- tel: Palazzo: 011-436-1455
- Palazzo: Tues-Sun 8:30am-7:30pm (to 11pm Sat in summer). Armeria: Tues-Fri 9am-2pm; Sat-Sun 1-7pm
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