The Royal Palace - Turin

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The Royal Palace

 

Palazzo reale Torino

The Royal Palace
The construction of the Royal Palace was ordered by the Regent Maria Cristina, who wanted for the Court a new worthy and sumptuous residence. It was  1645, and the Regent’s son was about to come back from the Civil War. The chosen place was the site where the Bishops’ palace once stood, which offered an open and sunny position,  and the advantage of being connected with the other buildings which had been seat of the Court until that moment. The Bishop’s Palace included San Giovanni Palace, an old building which after controversial vicissitudes was finally demolished and replaced with the current Palazzo Nuovo, and the part corresponding today to the Royal Armoury, which once stretched until the Castle (the current Palazzo Madam).
The project was given to an unknown architect, but it is likely that the first project was made by Amedeo di Castellammonte, the author of the façade.
Works for the construction, originally designed in the shape of a horseshoe, were quite long, and terminated in 1800 with the gate. On the occasion of the weddings of Carlo Emanuele II and Francesca d’Orléans, 1663, the main body, as well as the façade and a good part of the central area were completed. The beautiful garden was faced by the Piazzetta Reale.
The Piazzetta was borderei on the east side by the naked architecture of Palazzo Chiablese, on the west side by the Armour Gallery, and in south by a long gallery for the guards. This gallery was successively demolished and replaced by a gate made by the Palagi, which is still visible today.
The palace completion and the decoration of the inner rooms were followed by Vittorio Amedeo II, Amedeo II, Carlo Emanuele III and Vittorio Amedeo III. In 1694 the construction of the Chapel dedicated to the Sacred Shroud was completed.
The architecture was designed by Guarino Quartini in 1668, and it is harmoniously set in the west wing of the palace. The construction of the catwalks on the huge “scissor stairway” dates back to 1720, and was projected by Filippo Juvarra to connect the first and the second floor. The name comes from the ornamental motif placed on the second floor, which is a response of the artist to the rumors and evil-speaking of the courtesans, who didn’t believe in the construction of the stairway. The gallery which divided the courtyard from the “ancient” garden was elevated in 1733, in order to appear on the same level of the other wings.
After the French occupation in 1799 and the following restoration, all construction works were interrupted until the coming of Carlo Alberto, who ordered a further embellishment of the palace. Palagio Palagi, the official “decorator of courts”, was called to court to restore the palace and to add the neoclassical rearrangements.

Inner Spaces
The list of persons who took care of the decorations is long, and includes some very prestigious names.
Among the painters are Francesco Claudio Beaumont, Daniele Seyter, Carlo Dauphin, Carlo Andrea van Loo, Giovanni Miel, Gregorio Gulielmi.
The tapestries with mythological themes are by the Piedmont Manufacture of Beauvais di Gobelins, while the furniture was commissioned to the best furniture-makers and carvers of the age, like Pietro Piffetti and Luigi Prinotto.
The tapestries with mythological themes are by the Piedmont Manufacture of Beauvais di Gobelins, while the furniture was commissioned to the best furniture-makers and carvers of the age, like Pietro Piffetti and Luigi Prinotto.
The neoclassical finishing, often very redundant and pompous are by Palagio Palagi.
A wide staircase designed in 1864 by Augusto Ferri leads to the apartments on the first floor. After the large but cold Salone degli Svizzeri, there are other Halls following consecutively one after the other: Sale dei Corrazieri, Sale degli Staffieri, Sale dei Paggi, all decorated by French and Piedmont tapestries. One of the most sumptuous halls of the Palace is the Sala del Tono. In 1848, Carlo Alberto left this room to reach the nearby Loggia of the Weapons Gallery, from where he announced the beginning of the first War of Independence.

The nearby austere Hall of the Council of Ministries hosts a table on which, according to tradition, Carlo Alberto undersigned the Statute. Another hall follows after: the wonderful Chinese study-room, designed by Francesco Juvarra, with frescoes by Claudio Beaumont.

The magnificent succession of halls is only interrupted by the simplicity of the naked Carlo Alberto’s bedroom. Sumptuous is back with the successive Lunch Room, called Galleria del Daniele from the name of the decorator Daniele Seyter who painted the vault in 1690.

The lovely study room inside of Queen Maria Teresa’s room, is probably the most valuable thing of the palace: the room is finely furnished by Piffetti and painted by Beaumont, with a precious game of golden frames and old mirrors. The room perfectly reflects the refined and cultured elegance of the Court. Further on lies the Miniatures Office, which hosts an iconographic 19th century collection of the Savoy Family.

Other interesting rooms are the “Alcova” , once Carlo Emanuele II’s bedroom, and the dance hall, where parties and banquets took place, which hosts Carlo’s collection of Chinese porcelains. The great succession of rooms ends with the huge Dancing Hall, with its marble columns, probably the best work by the Palagi, who could work here free from the obligations imposed on the other decorations.

Turin’s Royal Palace has preserved untouched in its structure and furniture, offering a complete anthological documentation of the decorative arts in Piedmont around the second half of the 17th century until the 19th century. As such, the Palace represents a wonderful museum, rich of suggestive elements.

Garden
The garden was designed by the French architect Le Nôtre in 1697. It is delimited by the old bastions of the city, and, although not very extended, it was meant to offer perspectives and views similar to those of parks.
In the middle of the miroir d’eau it is possible to admire the fountain by Simone Martinez, overlooked by the square. Both the garden and the palace are open to public, while the Shrunk Chapel, though being part of the palace complex, is managed differently, and can be accessed by the Cathedral.

Info
Piazzetta Reale
Piazza Castello - Torino
tel. 011 4361455
fax 011 4361448
e-mail: sbaap@ambienteto.arti.beniculturali.it

Compulsory booking for schools and groups

 

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What to see in Turin

» Superga Basilica
» Rivalta Castle
» Cortile del Maglio - ex Arsenale Militare (The coolest and most avant-guard night clubs in Turin)
» Galleria Sabauda - Savoy Gallery
» Lingotto
» Mole Antonelliana
» Museo Egizio - Egyptian museum
» Museo dell'automobile - Car museum
» Museo della Sacra Sindone - Museum of Shroud
» Orto Botanico - Botanical Garden
» Palazzo Madama
» The Royal Palace - Palazzo Reale
» Palaisozaki & Punti di Vista
» Archaeological park in the "Quadrilatero"
» Turin platform and the Red Arch (La "Passerella" e l'Arco Rosso)
» Piazza Vittorio
» Dora district: Dora Park; Media Village; Environment Park; Chiesa del Santo Volto
» The Spina Centrale: the fountains-Igloo by Mario Merz; Opera per Torino by Per Kirkeby; Albero Giardino by Giuseppe Pennone

Main Attractions in the surroundings of Turin

» Moncalieri Castle
» San Giorgio Canavese Castle
» Stupinigi Hunting Lodge in Nichelino
» Reggia Venaria Reale

Events in the surroundings of Turin