History of the Royal Hunting Lodge

29 August 1855 - The Royal princes come to visit the Gesso valley. Victor Emanuel II is attracted to the area. Valdieri council hands over part of its land to the King of Italy to use as a private hunting and fishing reserve.

21 June 1857 - Entracque council deliberates to make over part of its territory. The Royal Reserve comprised a large part of the present day Alpi Marittime Park.

21 August 1868 - Valdieri council hands over rights accorded by common law to the Savoy family, leading to the building of houses at S.Anna di Valdieri, S.Giacomo and on the Valasco plain.

The project for a 'Country House' at Valasco dates back to September 1868, but with different features from those we see today.

A photo, thought to have been taken in 1878 shows a house, the stables at the back and a wing similar to the current south wing, so we can assume that the house was built between 1868 and 1870 but was not the building we see today which was built after 1878.

In the 1870's there were four buildings on the Valasco plain: the King's chalet where he stayed while hunting, two buildings to the rear for the guards and for stabling the horses and another on the other side of the stream used as a shepherd's hut of which a photo from the early twentieth century survives.

Documents dated 1899 refer to the 'Royal Hunting Lodge' so we believe it was built between 1880 and 1899.

The house was requisitioned, with the King's permission, in the First World War and transformed into barracks for 250 men and stables.

In the twenties repair work was carried out and new slates were put on the roof, towards the end of the twenties reforestation work was done in the valley and there was considerable work done on the road by the military forces, so the house was used as a store for tools and shelter for the workers. It was in this period that a serious fire caused severe damage to the roof, which was replaced by the military administration.

During the Second World War the house was used by troops again, with the end of hostilities came the end of the use of the house for military purposes.

In the period after the war the property changed hands, Jolanda of Savoy left the house to private citizens in 1958 and from there it passed to the current owner.

From the '60's the house was used mostly for agricultural purposes, often being used by the farmer whose cows were grazing the valley until the fire of 1993 which destroyed the roof again.

The rennovation began in 2002 and brings us to the present day with building being used as an alpine refuge with bar and restaurant.

Photos Giorgio Ferrero's Photographic Archive- Entracque (CN) - mobile 339 6848144