In Torino the museums are located in real institutions of international fame, from the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema), located in the Mole Antonelliana, to the Museo Egizio(Egyptian Museum). You can visit the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) in piazza Castello where you can admire the precious interiors, which document the evolution of the taste of the House of Savoy and the Armeria Reale (Royal Armoury), one of the richest collections of arms existing in the world which houses from medieval exhibits to Napoleonic relics and armour of sovereigns of the House of Savoy. Also in the regional capital the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali and the GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna(Gallery of Modern Art), house temporary exhibitions in addition to permanent exhibitions.
The rest of the Piedmontese region is not without precious and sought-after museum exhibitions, embracing both ancient art, in the Museo del Tesoro del Duomo in Vercelli, and modern and contemporary art in new locations such as the Filatoio Rosso of Caraglio. Spaces that showcase not only painting and sculpture, but also the tradition of the mountain valleys, with museums dedicated to the Waldensian and walser peoples, ecomuseums (Biellese) and very detailed and original exhibitions dedicated among others to the champions of cycling the “Campionissimi“, to the hat or to the difficult profession of the chimney sweep.
The Royal Residences: World Heritage Sites
In the beginning of the 18th century, Torino’s town planning was a reflection of the politics of a dynasty whose goal was to create a physical-territorial order that exalted Power. The Savoy, along with an intense programme of reconstruction of ancient castles, planned and designed, upon the model of European royal residences, opulent architectural complexes to host their court while away on holiday or hunting. Majestic works result from the labours of some of the greatest architects of the time: Juvarra, Guarini, Pelagi, Castellamonte. Omitting the residences included in the metropolitan area – Palazzo Reale,Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Carignano, the Castello del Valentino, Palazzo Chiablese and Villa della Regina, recently returned to the public – we begin the journey into life at court of the Savoy at Venaria Reale. The Reggia della Venaria offers its visitors the experience of an environmental and architectural unicum of extraordinary appeal, where history converses with nature. Besides the imposing Baroque palace with its gardens, the Borgo antico, the Parco della Mandria and the Castello as well as the Centro Internazionale del Cavallo (International Equestrian Centre) can also be toured at Venaria. Not far from Torino is the Castello di Rivoli, one of Europe’s main contemporary art museums. The Palazzina di Caccia (hunting lodge) at Stupinigi and the Castello di Moncalieri are also a part of this complex symmetry of panoramas.
The itinerary continues on to Racconigi, with the Castello Reale converted by Carlo Alberto into the residence of the “Royal holidays”. But this “crown of delights” – as architect Amedeo di Castellamone defined it in 1674 – includes the Castello di Pollenzo (now the location of the University of Gastronomic Sciences promoted by Slow Food and the Piemonte region); the Castello Ducale di Agliè with Italian and French style gardens where “Elisa di Rivombrosa”, one of Italy’s most successful television mini-series, was filmed; the Castello di Govone with its elaborate wooden decorations. The southernmost residence of the Savoy circuit, an integral part of the tourist area that connects the Pamparato and Mondovi valleys to the thermal stations of Lurisia and Vinadio, is the Castello Reale di Casotto. At the end of this tour of grand halls, sumptuous galleries, historic gardens and secular parks, the traveller will forever carry the memory of that sensation of having witnessed life at court during the Savoy reign and having experienced the splendour and customs of life at the European royal court.
The Royal Palace
The hub of the Court and of political power, the Royal Palace and the surrounding buildings formed the centre of command and the main place for representing all the majesty of the House of Savoy. Over the centuries, the successive works for renovation commissioned in the 1700s from Juvarra and Alfieri and in the 1800s from Palagi, made the Royal Palace into a unique example of how different architectural styles can live in harmony. The elegance of the 17th century facade and the splendour of its numerous, richly furnished rooms, reflect the luxurious life at the Court and reveal the centuries of history of the House of Savoy The ticket includes admission to the Royal Armory, Archaeological Museum, the 1st floor of the Royal Palace and Galleria Sabauda , valid for the day of issue.
National Museum of Cinema
The Museum is a spectacular and exciting visual itinerary which offers its visitors the possibility to discover the origins and the history of cinema. The museum was open in Turin in 1941, being a project by Maria Adriana Prolo, who was a collector and historian. In 1942 the city of Turin offered the museum some rooms from the Mole Antonelliana where to keep and show the materials that the collector was gathering. Today the National Museum of Cinema, after some displacements, has returned to its original seat in the Mole Antonelliana: opened in July 2000, the spectacular exhibition of the architect François Confino, has transformed the monument symbol of the city into a museum set up in plumb-line, unique in the world. Subdivided into five levels, with a surface of 3,200 m2, the museum perfectly adapts itself to the unusual architecture of the Mole, using it to offer surprising air visions and personal routes. On the corkscrew stairs there are motion-picture posters and in the chapels there’s the history of more than a century of cinema, from cinema animation to science fiction, from horror movies to cinema of love and death.
Egyptian Museum of Turin
The Ancient Egypt Museum of Turin is one of the most important ones, maybe the most important in Europe: there are findings and collections of the civilization of the Pharaohs from 17th century to nowadays. The collection is characterized by numerous objects and exceptional documents: statues, papyrus, sarcophagus, stele, mummies, objects in bronze, jewels, tableware, and other objects of the ordinary life. The most antique sculpture is the one of the princess Redi, sculpted at the time of 3rd dynasty (around 2,800 BC). With further three centuries of history, the Ancient Egypt Museum of Turin is considered as the most important Egyptian collection also thanks to the fundamental considered documents for the egyptology research; additionally, the antiques are so different and numerous that you can find a whole delineation of the civilization of Ancient Egypt from the origins to 5th and 6th century AC. The exhibition, well arranged and divided into three floors, allows a visit to the most important sections in about 2 hours, not preventing the most interested ones from losing the sense of time, letting them get intrigued by all the wonderful exhibits.
National Car Museum
The Car Museum of Turin is the only National Museum of its kind in Italy and offers a century of locomotion narrated through the more or lessn 280 vehicles that are exposed. It is one of the biggest European collection and contains vehicles of every kind: from the replication of the first driving car of history, the artillery car of Cugnot of 1769, to a solar-powered model of 1990. There are even present sportif models and series vehicles, great American berlins of representation and delicious state coaches, record Silurians and American dragster, F1 and sportif vehicles, electronic, vapour and drum motor cars. The vehicles, which belong to 80 different motorcars factories, come from Italy, France, Great Britain, Holland, Spain, Poland and USA.
Martini Museum of Enology History
The Museum of Enology History was created in 1961 by Lando Rossi, who wanted to dedicate a museum to wine. The museum’s halls were obtained from the original wine cellars of the late 17th century villa, seat of the first Martini-Rossi factories. There are more than 600 specimen exposed: a digression about wine from the first millenium BC to the past century.
Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare (Vercelli)
The Museo del Tesoro del Duomo di Vercelli (Museum of the Treasures of the Vercelli Cathedral) is housed in the Palazzo dell´Arcivescovado (Archbishop´s Palace) in Piazza d´Angennes (d´Angennes Square). Here are kept some unique objects, such as the only copy of the “Vercelli Book”, which is a famous manuscript written in old English, and the only copy of the “Medieval Map pf the World”. It is an ancient oval parchment dating back to the XII century depicting the globe in Middle Ages: at the bottom left hand-side is Europe, at the bottom right hand-side is Africa, at the top is Asia and the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa, a series of imaginary islands surround the three known Continents. In the Cathedral is also kept the “Codex Evangelorum”, as well as the precious “Codex Vercellensis”, which is a manuscript dating back to the IV century AD, where the first translation of the Gospels from Greek to Latin is contained.
Filatoio Rosso (Caraglio)
Until the end of the 19th century, Caraglio was an important center for silk work and the production of organzine, a highly prized thread obtained from silk worms and largely exported to factories in Lyon. Built in only two years, between 1676 and 1678, the Filatoio (Spinning Mill) is an extraordinary and unique example of 17th century Piemonte “industrial architecture”. The elegant and harmonious building has numerous rooms, cylindrical towers decorated with stucco work placed at the building’s four corners, and work rooms that open up to two large inner courtyards. Today, completely restored, it houses the Museo Regionale della Seta (Regional Silk Museum) in the former factory area and an exhibit of contemporary art in the former residential area.
Museo del Cappello Borsalino (Alessandria)
Throughout the world, the name Borsalino makes people think of hats, Italian elegance and style. There was a time when a woman would never have left the house without wearing a hat, nowadays customs and fashion have changed. The renowned Alessandria factory, however, continues to produce high quality creations to satisfy a clientele that has become more and more international. The Museo del Cappello (Hats’ Museum) was reopened to the public in May 2006, and gives a historic overview of Borsalino products. The museum is mounted in the Sala Campioni (Samples Room), and the more than two thousand hats are kept in the historic wardrobes. The models that were created by the imagination of the owners, that have given both work and fame to the city, were once kept in this room. There are hundreds of hats on display, in all shapes and colours, suitable for an elegant occasion as well as for a walk or a trip to the country. The first part of the exhibition is enriched by numerous explanatory panels and by videos that tell the story of this designer name, while the last part of the visit is devoted to current production in the factory.
Museo Valdese (Torre Pellice)
Born of the initiative of the Tavola Valdese in 1889, as part of the bicentennial celebration of the “Glorioso Rimpatrio” (the “Glorious Return”) when the Valdese were granted religious freedom, the Musée Vaudois is dedicated to preserving the patrimony and cultural memory of the Valdesian people. Today located in what was once the boarding school, the museum is divided into two sections: one historical and the other ethnographic. The latter tells the daily life of the community through their work, school, and the different seasons that determined the rural activities. The Museum, under the auspices of the “Fondazione Centro Culturale Valdese” “Valdesian Cultural Centre Foundation”, is at the forefront of a system that covers other places of special symbolism to the community, including a dozen museums in the mountain region of the Valli Pellice, Chisone and Germanasca (Pellice, Chisone and Germanasca valleys).
Museo del Risorgimento (Torino)
The museum has its seat in Palazzo Carignano, one of the jewels of Turin Baroque built by Guarino Guarini. After having been the residency of Carignano princes, a lesser branch of the House of Savoy, the palace housed the sub-alpine Parliamentary House of Deputies in 1848 and the first Parliament of the Italian State in 1861. The museum preserves documents, magazines, relics, arms, flags, and works of art that tell the story of Italy from 1706 to 1946. The monumental Hall that should have housed the Italian Parliament – which, instead, opened in Florence in 1864 after Italy’s capital was transferred – will be open to visitation during the festivities planned for the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Turin capital. An extensive specialization library, a print exhibition room, and a documents archive flank the museum.
MEF – Museo Ettore Fico (Torino)
Located in the former Sicmet industrial building (Mechanical and Electrical Construction Industrial Company), the MEF (Ettore Fico Museum) dedicated to the painter from Biella who died in Turin on 28 December 2004, features a cultural offer with an international flavour dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The exhibition programme consists of several levels organised through three annual thematic exhibitions. The first level is dedicated to monographs of great masters or collective exhibitions of a historic-educational nature, the second level focuses on projects with contemporary artists who work directly in the spaces of the museum and the third presents a dialogue among different artistic disciplines such as fashion, design, cinema, etc.
Museo della Ceramica (Mondovì)
Visiting the Museo della Ceramica means discovering the production techniques and decorative trends that followed one after the other over the course of almost two centuries. The history of the industrial, artistic and cultural development of the Monregalese ceramics region is illustrated with the aid of exhibition panels and with an accessible language, enriched by multimedia aids with a strong and immediate showy impact.
Inside the two halls, distributed over almost 600 square metres, over six hundred ceramics are exhibited; while there are two thousand pieces held in deposits that can be visited, aimed at students, collectors and experts in the subject.
The exhibition is designed as a journey inside a factory where the visitor is introduced, and helped by a multimedia aid in the various phases of ceramics production; from the composition of the raw material, to the techniques of decoration and moulding of same with the final exhibition in the market area of representative pieces of every single technique and the instruments to create it.
The Monregalese Museo della Ceramica joins the cultural offering of a city already rich in attractions and fascination, by reliving in the collective memory a past of work and art creativity and ceramics production, which has awaited adequate consideration and celebration for years.