Turin, one of the vertices of Italian industry
and capital of the automobile, was founded as an old Roman colony
with the name of Augusta Taurinorum, assuming important beginnings
in the 13th Century, when thanks to the power of the Savoy,
enlarged, until it became the capital of their reign during
the 16th Century.
The transformation of the City then had other
important phases: in the 1500’s, the 1600’s, with
the presence of the architect Guarino Guarini, and in the 1700’s
with Iuvarra. The most important historical moment of Turin,
goes from 1861 to 1865, when it took on the role of the first
capital of united Italy.
The urban ambience is very different with respect to that
of other Italian cites, in that it was characterized by the
wishes of the Savoy, giving it a quite severe French appearance:
large roads which meet at right angles – the most important
is the central Via Roma – and spacious squares of regular
geometry – amongst which, should be noted, the Piazza
Castello and Piazza Carlo Felice.
Turin has a very active cultural life: there are publishing
houses, there’s the seat of one of the main Italian
newspapers and seats of prestige for scientific and technical
studies – the Polytechnic and the University.
As a exhibition centre, the most famous is definitely the
Egyptian Museum – the third most important in the world
– but we must also note the Sabauda Gallery, the Gallery
of Modern Art and of recent foundation, the Agnelli Art Gallery
at Lingotto - the ancient seat of Via Nizza of the FIAT car
company, which dates back to the 1920’s and which aroused
admiration from LeCorbusier – and the Museum of the
Cinema fitted out in a fascinating way, and inside one of
the symbols of the City: the very famous Antonelliana Mole,
167 metres in height, projected by the architect Antonelli
in 1863, as synagogue for the City.
An architectural itinerary across Turin, should take into
consideration the very central Castello Square, on which the
Palazzo Madama faces, dating back to the 17th Century –
this curious name comes from fact that it was the residence
of Madame Reale Maria Cristina, regent of Carlo Emanuele II
of Savoy – its Baroque façade is from 1721, and
work of Filippo Iuvarra.
The Regio Theatre, also faces onto the square, with its 18th
Century façade, but with a very modern interior from
1973; the Castello Square passes neighbouring Piazza Reale
and the Cathedral, to which is annexed the very famous Chapel
of the Sacred Shroud – a creation by Guarino Guarini,
built between 1668 and 1694 and now under a meticulous process
of reconstruction, following a terrible fire – inside,
the Shroud of Turin is preserved and considered to be, one
of the most important Christian relics.
The perspective architecture of Via Roma is also noteworthy,
with the “twin” Churches of S.Carlo and S. Cristina,
to close the perspective scenery: along the route, in Piazza
S. Carlo, the Science Academy Building faces onto the square,
and houses the aforementioned Egyptian Museum and Sabauda
Gallery – contained paintings by Beato Angelico, Bronzino,
Mantegna, Veronese, Tintoretto, Gentileschi, Carracci, Reni
and Tiepolo, amongst others.