One of my favourite museum in Torino is the National Museum of Italian Renaissance. It is indeed very interesting for me and italian people to visit it, in order to see historical evidence, but I think it could be even more interesting for foreigners curious to know about italian history.
By the way, did you know that Torino was the first italian capital city?
The Museum was closed after the 2006 Winter Olympic Games for a restoration that lasted about five years. It in fact re-opened in March 2011, during the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.
The first thing I learned is that this is the first and most important Museum of the Renaissance [or Risorgimento as it is called in italian] in Italy, the only one who has the title of National, thanks to the quality and richness of the collections.
The Museum of the Italian Risorgimento of Turin is located inside the historic and magnificent Palazzo Carignano, one of the greatest examples of Baroque architecture in the city.
The palace is overlooking the homonymous square Carignano, but to access the museum you can also enter from the other side of the palace: there is an entry to the court also from Piazza Carlo Alberto.
The peculiarity of this building is given by the two facades: one with red bricks on Piazza Carignano was designed by the architect Guarino Guarini, in typical Piedmontese Baroque; the other one, in nineteenth century style, overlooking piazza Carlo Alberto, was built thanks to the expansion of the building and is in an eclectic style with white stone and pink stucco.
The 29 exhibition rooms of the museum are tracing the history since the great European revolutions until the expedition of the Thousands, with Garibaldi, and the unification of Italy in order to finish with a room dedicated to the Great War.
The main attraction of the museum is certainly the Subalpine Parliament Hall, the site where the first italian parliament used to meet, which can be seen through the windows in all its originality and elegance.
One of the things that has impressed me during the visit is the distinctly modern display; there are different rooms, each in a different color, presenting works or relics of the period, and are accompanied by detailed descriptions and multimedia contributions.
A special praise goes to the usability of the site to people with disabilities; in addition to avoiding architectural barriers for people with mobility problems, even the visually impaired or blind people can follow the explanations either through the films screened in most of the rooms, or by panels written in Braille and relief designs depicting the main works exposed in every room.
The first rooms introduce the situation of the Kingdom of Sardinia during the period of the great European revolutions, starting from the French and then Italian in the Napoleonic period, when Piedmont was annexed to France.
The map in the parquet floor, that shows the period when the French empire extended to the Po Valley is really beautiful.
Many rooms are then dedicated to the period of the Restoration, the secret societies and the people insurrections. One of the small rooms is reserved to the reconstruction of Silvio Pellico cell in the Spielberg prison in Brno.
Visiting the Museum, remember to look up and admire not only the exhibition, but also the frescoed ceilings of the palace. They deserve much.
Continuing in the halls and in history, here comes the period of moderate rulers and epochal reforms: we find the famous Albertine Statute which, among other things, tolerate the worship of religions other than Catholic.
Among the exhibits there are not only sculptures, paintings and documents, but also many clothes and even more impressive apparels: one among them is the tent camp of the king during the First War of Independence.
The Subalpine Parliament, in my opinion, is what alone worth the visit to the Museum.
Very interesting it is to see the portraits of the various parliamentary hanging out of the room and designed to recognize known names from history books.
The Crimean War and the Paris Congress allow us to follow the historical events prior to the Expedition of the Thousand.
An imposing sculpture of Garibaldi on horseback welcomes us in the first room dedicated to the world famous action and those following are entirely dedicated to the unification of Italy and the bourgeois age.
The visit ends in the great hall that hosted the main hall of the Italian Chamber but was never staged because the capital city was moved first to Florence in 1865 and then to Rome in 1871.
The remarkable grandeur of the hall houses paintings of the Savoy collection that couldn’t be exposed elsewhere due o huge dimensions.
The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 (last admission at 17:00).
The price of the ticket is 10 € and reductions are available.
Warning: if you would like taking pictures or movies at the museum, you need to pay 2 € extra and get a sticker to put on your jacket.