At the gates of the province of Turin, Rivoli Castle stands out as a strategic Savoia residence. In fact, it is said that as early as Roman times, a central fortified tower could be seen surrounded by other buildings and a surrounding garden.
At first registered as the property of the bishops of Turin, the building only became part of the Savoia dynasty in 1247. However, it was with Amadeus IV that the residence acquired enormous importance; thanks to its favourable position on the territories conquered by the Savoia, he moved the Council of Princes there in 1330.
The castle was also the scene of festivals and celebrations such as the famous union between Bianca di Savoia and Galeazzo Visconti in 1350.
Later in the centuries, for the first time on Piedmontese territory, the Castle of Rivoli recorded the passage of one of the most important relics: the Holy Shroud.
A few centuries later, Emanuele Filiberto of Savoia ascended the throne and chose to locate the capital of the Duchy in the city of Turin; however, the latter was still under French rule, so he was forced to set up his court in Rivoli, where his heir, Carlo Emanuele I, was born.
These two personalities made a significant mark on the history of the building by making various changes. His father, with the help of architects Francesco Paciotto and Domenico Ponsello, modernised the structure, in particular by adding a terraced garden to refine the military aspect of the complex.
His son, on the other hand, chose the Castellamonte architects to carry out the project of the Picture Gallery in the *Manica Lunga* of the castle to give the building the form of a leisure residence. Completed in 1670, the Pinacoteca was short-lived, fought over by the French and the Savoia, and was damaged by looting and fires.
It was with the rise of Victor Amadeus II that many great architects took over the reconstruction of the Castle, among them Michelangelo Garove, Antonio Bertale and finally the famous Filippo Juvarra. The project laid the foundations for the construction of a real royal palace, able to compare with the greatest European residences, which was never completed. On the outside, balustrades and statues in the style of Juvarra were planned, while for the inside, painters from all over Italy were called in to decorate the flats. Once again interrupted, work resumed only under the guidance of his successor Vittorio Amedeo III, who commissioned the architect Carlo Randoni.
Due to the series of vicissitudes that marked its history, the Castle lost importance and for this reason it was given to the city of Rivoli, which assigned it the function of military barracks. On that occasion, army soldiers, heedless of the building, damaged it considerably.
Moreover, the Second World War marked a new period of destruction for Rivoli Castle, which was only exhumed in the 1970s, when the Piedmont Region offered to come to its rescue.
Finally, in 1984, the Rivoli Castle Museum of Contemporary Art was founded, which still today boasts famous collections and collaborations with well-known young architects to bring back its renegade beauty.
The initial project involved the construction of a low, detached building connected to the residence by a long, narrow passageway in the side wing.
Only a small part of this project survived, saved from fires set by passing French troops in the late 17th century. Moreover, a few centuries later, the famous architect from Messina, Filippo Juvarra, proposed the demolition of this wing in favour of his new project. The latter was never completed and the building was used as a service area.
It was only in 1986 that restoration work on the Manica was resumed and concluded in 2000 with the opening of an exhibition hall. From that date it is possible to observe the museum vocation of the structure thanks to the dialogue between "container and content": the protagonist of these new projects was the architect Andrea Bruno who, thanks to the use of new materials such as steel and glass, created modern access stairs to the seventeenth-century structure. The transparency of the glass gives the possibility to enjoy the majesty of the building which together with the metal covers illuminate the building and the details of the Castellamonte's project.
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