The Royal House of Savoy; The Who, The How and The Where

Who were the Savoy’s?

Referred to by the Italians as Casa Savoia, The House Of Savoy was a royal dynasty recognized in 1003 in the Savoy region of Europe. As the Savoy family grew in power they gradually extended their rule all the way from Northern Italy to the “Kingdom of Sicily”.

In 1860, with the unification of Italy, the House of Savoy reigned in complete control of the “Kingdom of Italy” until about 1946 when the Italian Republic was proclaimed.

According to the American foundation of the Savoy orders, “The Royal House of Savoy was Europe’s oldest sovereign family.  It recently celebrated its millennium anniversary at the dawn of the 21st century.  Commencing about the year 1000, the heads of the House of Savoy had ruled, first as counts, then as dukes and finally as kings, for almost a thousand years.  From the 18th until the mid-20th centuries, the Royal House of Savoy played an increasingly significant role in the history of modern Italy.  Following the Napoleonic era, the Savoy Dynasty gradually unified the entire Italian peninsula into the nation of Italy between 1861 and 1870”

A House Of Savoy Property

The Savoy Family Crest

According to Walks in Rome article, “The coat of arms, which is made up of a cross surmounted by a crown, incorporates a tiny image of the Annunciation, a reference to the Ordine Supremo della Santissima Annunziata, an order of Knighthood originating in Savoy. The distinctive knots, which encircle the image, are known, unsurprisingly, as Savoy knots. A Savoy knot is often accompanied by the words, Stringe ma non costringe‘ (It tightens, but does not constrain). ” 

Savoy Coat of Arms Image – Walks In Rome

Early in the 1800s the chocolate company I used to work for, Barratti & Milano, received the royal warrant of appointment which was used to bestow honor upon tradesmen who regularly supplied the Savoy family with goods or services that had to be of the utmost prestige for the royal household.

Other companies that have held the impressive designation include: Bentley, Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee & Rigby & Peller Milano.

In a land overflowing with the finest craftsmanship it is truly an honor to be designated “nel piu’ alto grado” which in Italian translates to “the best of the best.”

Properties associated with the Savoy?

The Royal House of Savoy was a Royal dynasty that ruled over Italy for almost 1,000 years.

Whilst expanding their dynasty throughout Italy, the Royal House of Savoy obtained not only power but an impressive amount of land on which they built an array of castles, villas, hunting lodges, wineries, stables etc.

Most notably are The Residences of The Royal House of Savoy, a cluster of 22 buildings In Turin. The plans for this development were initiated by the Duke of Savoy, Emmanuel-Philibert, and then carried out by his successor Charles-Emmanuel I.

With this expansion the Royal House of Savoy wanted to show their supremacy by reorganizing central Turin as their “command area” expanding over villas, hunting roads, private residences etc. all in Baroque character and all intended to lead directly to and from the state capital.

The Residences of The Royal House of Savoy are now considered an UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE for its cultural and historical significance and according to the “Ministero della Cultura” ;

The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy is an outstanding example of European monumental architecture and town-planning in the 17th and 18th centuries that uses style, dimensions and space to illustrate in an exceptional way the prevailing doctrine of absolute monarchy in material terms.”

With great power came…well….great wine!

Now known as the “Royal Wine Road of Torinese Wines” (Strada Reale dei Vini Torinesi), this self-guided route is laden with Savoy history and includes vineyards, castles, spectacular gardens, etc.

Along the route you will continue to sense the history embedded in the vineyards and historical buildings such as the Queen’s Villa & Vineyards, Valentino Park, multiple palazzos and the Royal Palace of Venaria whose original purpose was a hunting lodge. The hunting residence of Stupinigi was acquired by Emmanuel Philibert in 1563 who then transformed the original intended castle to a formal hunting lodge for the King of Sardinia, Vittorio Amadeo II.

The hunting residence of Stupinigi

According to the site for the Savoy delegation, at completion, the building boasted 137 rooms, 17 galleries and covered over 31, 050 square meters with décor of hounds heads and a bronze stag on the rooflines. All of the House of Savoy properties were constructed by the very best of architects and the intricacy of detail and artistic draw is perhaps even more impressive now.

Fontanafredda, yet another wine property associated with the Savoy, was purchased in 1858 by Vittorio Emmanuele as a gift for his secret love Rosa Vercellana, whom was known as “La Bella Rosina” (the pretty little rose), a love that was secret at first while Vittorio was married to Queen Maria Adelaide, however with the queen’s passing, and even though Rosa Vercellana was a commoner, Vittorio married Rosa and produced some of the most luscious wines from their vineyards. Their son, Emanuele Alberto di Mirafiore is responsible for putting Barolo on the map of “noble” wine and still today The Fontanafredda Estate produces wines fit for royalty even through wars, disease and family crisis, the estate was nominated from Wine Enthusiast as European Winery of the year in 2017.

No matter your feelings towards the rulings and history of The Royal House of Savoy, there is no denying the intricacy and majesty of the properties that they are associated with.

Did you enjoy this article? Visit us at www.thebestofitalian.com for the love of all things Italian!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *