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Valentino Castle (Castello del Valentino)

Walk around the home of the royal family of Turin, the Savoys, and admire the public garden surrounding this French and Italian-style building on the Po River.

Valentino Castle stands in Turin’s second largest park, Valentino Park, along the Corso Massimo D’Azeglio. The origins of the horseshoe-shaped castle date back to the 16th century. Originally a riverside residence, it was named for St. Valentine, the priest of Rome who secretly married couples when banned to do so during Emperor Claudius II’s reign.

As you wander around the castle you’ll notice the distinct French style on the castle’s front facade, which can be attributed to Princess Christine Marie of France, who married the prince Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy. Christine Marie commissioned work to be done to the castle by father and son designers, Carlo and Amedeo of Castellamonte. The rear facade, however, which faces the River Po, maintained its Italian design, sandwiching the castle’s interior between two major powers of the 18th century.

The castle has performed various functions since the time of the Savoys: a veterinary school, a barracks, the Royal School of Application for Engineers and finally the Architecture Faculty for Polytechnic University, which it remains to this day. Preparation for the 1858 Exposition of Turin triggered removal of much of the castle’s beautiful French interior.

Although the interior of Valentino Castle is closed to the public, the castle stands a short, but lovely walk along the River Po. Walk through Valentino Park to the Medieval Village (Borgo Medievale), where many 15th-century replicas and café options await.

In the decades following the Savoy’s death, geometrically designed Botanical Gardens were added, incorporated into Valentino Castle’s original gardens from 1730. Operated by the University of Turin, the gardens still bloom centuries later and are open on weekends. They are free of charge to visit. Walk through them to take photos of the side of the castle and admire the 2,000 species of vegetation that are planted throughout the gardens.

Take public transportation to reach Valentino Castle to avoid difficulties with Turin’s ZTL (Limited Traffic Areas). Enjoy a pleasant walk through the Valentino Park before or after your castle visit.


Guide to Exploring Valentino Castle


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