Palazzo Carignano is one of the most representative buildings of the city of Turin and of the Savoy hegemony, together with Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Madama.
Located in the heart of the metropolis, it owes its construction to Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia-Carignano, also known as Il Muto, who entrusted the design to the famous Modenese architect Guarino Guarini. Although it was one of the most striking and imposing palaces of 17th-century Italy, work began in 1679 and was completed only six years later.
It was not long before it became the official residence of the Princes of Carignano, a cadet branch of the House of Savoy. However, in 1831 it was handed over to the State and housed the Council of State. Later, in 1848, Palazzo Carignano became the seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine Parliament.
Built in the area used as stables by Prince Tommaso, progenitor of the cadet branch of Savoy-Carignano, Palazzo Carignano originally had a C-shaped plan opening onto the gardens; the current quadrangular structure is due to the addition of the 19th-century building built to house the Italian Parliament, and completed in 1871, after the capital moved to Rome. The central elliptical hall in the 17th-century part, formerly used for parties, was transformed into the chamber of the First Subalpine Parliament in 1848.
From an architectural point of view, Palazzo Carignano is one of the most emblematic examples of Italian Baroque.
The first part of its construction is represented by the façade that juts out onto Piazza Carignano; here we see the play of alternating concave and convex parts in a curvilinear style. According to some scholars, Guarino Guarini was inspired by Bernini's designs for the Louvre Palace. The rear façade, on the other hand, was built at the end of the 19th century and differs in material and form: white stone and pink stucco give the façade an eclectic style, decorated with distinctive columns and a portico.
The interior of the palace is rich in frescoes, stuccoes and decorations, thanks to which it has been possible to house two different museums in its vaults:
- On the ground floor, in the Midday Apartment, majestic gilded boiseries decorate the walls. In the Appartamento di Mezzanotte, on the other hand, the frescoes by Stefano Maria Legnani, known as Legnanino, stand out; his work was carried out between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century and also extends to the rooms on the floor.
- On the main floor, the National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento has been set up, where it is possible to admire numerous exhibits, including paintings, weapons, clothes and uniforms dating back to the Savoy reign, and to retrace an exciting piece of Italian and European history. Moreover, thanks to a thorough renovation of the wing and state-of-the-art multimedia services, it is possible to immerse oneself in the era and enjoy the collections on display in the numerous thematic areas.
As of 2011, the flats can be visited with a guide that allows visitors to discover the customs and traditions of Piedmontese ancestors.
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