Residences of the Royal House of Savoy (1997)

Back to index

When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a vast series of building projects (continued by his successors) to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. This outstanding complex of buildings, designed and embellished by the leading architects and artists of the time, radiates out into the surrounding countryside from the Royal Palace in the 'Command Area' of Turin to include many country residences and hunting lodges. 

This property was inscribed as World Heritage, considering that the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in and around Turin represent a comprehensive overview of European monumental architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries, using style, dimensions, and space to illustrate in an exceptional way the prevailing doctrine of absolute monarchy in material terms. 

Italy 1985. View of Turin. Italy 1987. Piazza San Carlo, Turin.

Savoy, House of, north Italian dynasty that became the royal family of Italy. The house was founded by a Burgundian nobleman, Humbert the Whitehanded (died about 1048). Humbert's son Oddone succeeded to the title of count of Savoy, and by his marriage to Adelaide, heiress of Turin in Piedmont (Piemonte), he greatly extended his dominions. In the succeeding three centuries the possessions of the family were greatly enlarged in France, Italy, and Switzerland. In the 13th century Nice was secured, giving Savoy an outlet to the sea. Amadeus VIII, count of Savoy, secured the creation of the duchy of Savoy and became (1416) its first duke by his support of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. In 1434 he handed over much of his authority to his son Louis and founded a religious order. He was elected (1440) pope as Felix V by the Council of Basel, but resigned in 1449.

By 1536 the authority of the dukes of Savoy over Geneva had ended, and they were dispossessed of their Swiss territories. Francis I, king of France, then seized (1536) the dominions of the house of Savoy. In 1559, however, most of the duchy was restored to Emmanuel Philibert, 10th duke of Savoy, by the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis.

Victor Amadeus II was compelled for a time to submit to various French demands but finally joined the Grand Alliance against France. By the Treaty of Turin in 1696, Savoy made a separate peace with France and detached itself from the Grand Alliance. After Victor Amadeus joined (1703) Austria in the War of the Spanish Succession, (1701-1714) the French overran and devastated Piedmont, but were defeated (1706) by Victor Amadeus and his cousin, the Austrian general Eugene, prince of Savoy, at the siege of Turin. By the Peace of Utrecht, Victor Amadeus was accorded (1713) possession of Sicily with the title of king. The alliance with Austria also added to Savoy the remainder of Montferrat, part of the region having already been ceded (1631) to the duchy. Sicily was given (1720) to Austria in exchange for Sardinia, and Victor Amadeus became king of Sardinia. In 1831 Charles Albert of Savoy Carignan became king of Sardinia. In 1849 he abdicated in favor of his son Victor Emmanuel II, who ceded (1860) Savoy and Nice to France and later assumed (1861) the title of king of Italy. He was succeeded (1878) by Humbert I, who was assassinated in 1900. The latter's son, Victor Emmanuel III, abdicated in May 1946 in favor of the crown prince, Humbert II, who ruled until June 1946, when Italy became a republic. Victor Emmanuel III, Humbert, and Humbert's heir Victor Emmanuel moved to Portugal shortly thereafter. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Italy (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Italy for further information about such sites. 

Back to index

Revised 01 aug 2006  
Copyright ¬© 1999 Heindorffhus 
All Rights Reserved