ARCHITECTUREGreat architectural works from the past and present co-exist in Torino.
Buildings designed by great architects who marked the transformation begun in the 1990’s (accelerated by the XX Olympic Winter Games 2006), familiarizing the entire world with a more beautiful, modern, receptive and better equipped city are added to masterpieces from the Baroque and Liberty period.The most ancient sign is that of Porta Palatina, proof of the Roman settlement of Augusta Taurinorum, which has now regained its splendour thanks the project of the Parco Archeologico that hosts remote Roman finds.
Included for centuries in the “checkerboard” perimeter of Roman origin – that distinguishes the city’s centre to this day – Torino experienced a period of great splendour from the 17th century on, thanks to the commitment of the House of Savoy who called upon the most important architects of the time to embellish their city. This is why renowned masters such as Ascanio Vitozzi, Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, Guarino Guarini, Filippo Juvarra and Benedetto Alfieri arrived in Torino.
The Baroque age endowed the city with jewels of great splendour, beginning with the churches and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud – Guarino Guarini’s Baroque masterpiece – along with the Chiesa di San Lorenzo (church) and the Santuario della Consolata (sanctuary). The Baroque style also identified that of some of the old town centre’s best known streets and piazzas such as via Po, piazza Castello and piazza San Carlo. The core of Torino’s Baroque system is the “Corona delle Delizie” (crown of delights): a circuit of 15 Royal Residences – located in the city, the suburbs and throughout the Piemonte region – declared “World Heritage Sites” in 1997. The residences located in the city are the Palazzo Reale (royal palace), the Savoy residence until 1865, Palazzo Madama, home of the Museo di Arte Antica (museum of ancient art) and Palazzo Carignano, headquarters of the Parlamento Subalpino as well as that of Italy’s first Parliament after the National Unification. Outside city limits: the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi (hunting lodge), the Reggia di Venaria Reale (palace) and the Castello di Rivoli (castle). The castle was designed by Juvarra in the 18th century, inspired by Versailles and connected to the Basilica di Superga by a 20-kilometre long axis, also designed by the architect from Messina.
19th and 20th centuries
The city discovered new suggestions during the 19th and 20th centuries. The piazza Vittorio Veneto, Europe’s largest porticoed area – previously named after Vittorio Emanuele I – was built along the riverbanks of the Po. On the other side of the river, the Basilica della Gran Madre di Dio, the neo-classic temple inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, was built. Art Nouveau was born and Alessandro Antonelli erected the building destined to become the symbol of the city: the Mole Antonelliana. Built between 1863 and 1889 and 167.5 metres high, it is now the home of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema). In the 1920’s and 30’s, the central via Roma was built as well as the Lingotto FIAT car factory, designed by Giacomo Matté Trucco in Rationalist style. The factory is now one of Italy’s main multifunctional centres thanks to Renzo Piano’s renovation. The Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Modern Art Gallery) came along in the 1960’s along with the Museo dell’Automobile (Automobile Museum), the Palazzo del Lavoro and Torino Esposizioni (both designed by Pier Luigi Nervi), the PalaVela and the Teatro Regio that was rebuilt after the fire in 1929 by Carlo Mollino as well as other creations by such names as Aldo Rossi, Roberto Gabetti and Aimaro Isola.
The architectural development of the city began in the 1970’s, setting the pace for its current transformation: that of the new, avant-garde infrastructures constructed for the occasion of the Olympics such as the Palasport (designed by Arata Isozaki and Pier Paolo Maggiora), the Oval (designed by the Hok Sport architectural firm and Studio Zoppini) and the Palavela (reinterpreted by Gae Aulenti and Arnaldo De Bernardi). There’s more: the covered market in piazza della Repubblica (designed by Massimiliano Fuksas), the University facility for the Liberal Arts Department (designed by Norman Foster), the new Railway Station of Porta Susa (by Gruppo Arep) and the Chiesa del Santo Volto (designed by Mario Botta). These and other buildings that are the result of reconstruction projects of historical or industrial buildings no longer in use are only some examples of how the city is changing thanks to great names in architecture.