Palazzo Madama


Palazzo Madama, overlooking the heart of Turin, Piazza Castello, is a compendium of the entire history of Turin: originally a Roman gate, it became a small fort in the Middle Ages, and in the fifteenth century the castle of the Princes of Acaja, a secondary branch of the House of Savoy. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was the home for two successive queens, regents of the Acaja dukes. These ladies made significant upgrades to the palace--so the building's nickname 'Madama.'

In 1832, King Charles Albert made the Palazzo home to the Royal Painting Collection and, in 1848, the first Senate of the Kingdom--yes, Turin was the first capital of a united Italy. Since 1934 it has housed the collections of the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica di Torino, with more than 70,000 works including paintings, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, majolica and porcelain, gold and silver, furnishings and textiles that illustrate European art from the Early Middle Ages to the Baroque period. The museum pays particular attention to the artists and craftsmen from Piedmont, Turin's region.

There is another Turin garden attached to this old palace and a top floor balcony with 360 degree views of the city and parts of the region. We are always amused and puzzled by panoramic viewing areas that have braille titles along with names of what the able can see...

Touring Turin, we crossed the piazza a number of times to eat, catch a bus, etc. One afternoon, we witnessed a sweet marriage proposal, helped by a group of enthusiastic children struggling to get the signage right--'Fefy, tuoi sposarmi?'--Fefy, will you marry me?