How about a journey through the masterpieces of Baroque art? An itinerary on the trail of Turin's treasures which took shape in the distant “century of wonder”.
Arabesques, precious stuccoes and sumptuous and extravagant decorations. If you have a passion for Baroque art and its precious seductions, know that many Turin treasures were created in the distant seventeenth century when the Savoy dynasty commissioned the construction of a system of royal residences and entrusted the design to the most famous architects of the time. Thus was born the "Crown of Delights", a set of keeps and palaces recognized by Unesco Heritage and today home to important historical collections.
If I have already told you about the triumphal beauty of the Reggia di Venaria and the moving grandeur of the Basilica of Superga, other fine buildings await us in the center of Turin. We could start with the sumptuous Chapel of the Shroud, reopened to the public after almost thirty years of restoration following the serious fire that destroyed the structure. Built at the end of the seventeenth century as a project by the Modenese Guarino Guarini, the chapel was commissioned by the Duke of Savoy who wanted a building suitable to house the relic of the shroud, the sacred sheet that according to tradition had wrapped the body of Christ. Guarini succeeded in fully interpreting the spirit of his time, creating an elegant and light dome, which gives the impression of reaching upwards, embellished with black marble, enriched by arches and pillars, enhanced with suggestive plays of light.
Among the other Baroque jewels we must also include the elegant Piazza San Carlo which represents the real "living room of the city" with its elegant historic cafes overlooking the arcades. In the center stands the bronze statue dedicated to Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, while the two extraordinary "twin churches" attract attention for their perfect symmetry: even if they were actually built twenty years apart from each other, the church of San Carlo Borromeo and the one dedicated to Santa Cristina appear identical and opposite to the central road that separates them, while their majestic and finely decorated facades dominate the large space of the square, attracting the gaze of tourists and art lovers alike.
Another iconic and much admired building is Palazzo Carignano, also designed by Guarini and characterized by a beautiful curved terracotta facade: this surface that alternates concave and convex shapes is a true masterpiece and, according to experts, draws inspiration from the drawings that Bernini had made for the Louvre in Paris.
Still in the city center, dominating the very central Piazza Castello, we find Palazzo Madama, a heterogeneous complex with a double aspect: the architect Filippo Juvarra, in fact, was given the task of designing the grandiose façade that completed the original medieval building of which evident traces still remain in the rear part of the building. But it is above all the "Juvarra staircase" that is remembered as one of the undisputed masterpieces of the European Baroque: large and grandiose, it still conveys a feeling of solemn grandeur and luminous nobility, as it knew how to fascinate the travelers of the Grand Tour who visited Turin over previous centuries.
So, dear friends, do not miss the opportunity to savour the baroque soul of the city, walk along the great majestic streets, enter the churches steeped in solemnity, admire the daring domes and visit the fairytale royal palaces. Even in our modern times, made of technology and minimalism, the wonders of the Baroque never cease to amaze us.