Castles are my passion. It will be my Piedmontese origin, and therefore the Savoyard mood, or the simple charm that the castles arouse in all the girls who, before or after, dream of a princess fairy tale. The fact is that when Turismo Torino invited me to visit Moncalieri Castle I immediately gladly accepted.
First of all it has always been one of those manors I saw passing by on the highway and that fascinated me for its grandeur. The thing that attracted me more than anything else was seeing one of the Savoia kings residence fter the serious fire affecting it on 2008.
Moncalieri Castle is for two thirds occupied by the First Regiment Carabinieri Piemonte, while for one third it is a museum. It is now again possible to visit the royal apartments that after 9 years of restoration and recoveries, on 11th of November 2017, have been reopened to visitors.
UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other Savoia residences, Moncalieri Castle offers admissions and guided tours on Fridays and weekends.
It is always better to book the visit in order to avoid finding a place at the desired time.
The visits cannot be done freely since, as said before, you are in a military building and even pictures on the otside are not authorized. Each group is escorted by a representative of Carabinieri.
During our visit, our guide introduces us to the discovery of Moncalieri Castle telling us little anecdotes and gossip of the time about the most caractheristic inhabitants: Maria Clotilde and Maria Letizia.
Maria Letizia Bonaparte was the last heir of the Savoia House to live here and to modernize the apartments. She was Amedeo of Savoia’s wife.
The modernization also included the installation of an elevator that still works today.
Between Maria Letizia and Amedeo there was a difference of 22 years as Maria Letizia was widowed only one year and a halfafter the wedding.
She always was a rebel, with a lively personality and a great curiosity towards everything that was modern. It is said that she was very interested in car racing and participated circuits to follow the races.
The biggest scandal, however, was her liaison with a 21.year-old army officer who was much younger that her that became the universal heir of all her possessions when she died.
During the walk through the apartments of Maria Letizia we discover furnishings and settings of the time. One of the points in favor of Moncalieri Castle, as well as other Savoia residences such as the Racconigi Castle, is the possibility of still finding the rooms as they were during the old times. Furniture and tapestries are preserved or rearranged as in the Savoia era. In this way we can better imagine the various activities that took place in the different rooms of the building.
The part of the building with Vittorio Emanuele III apartments was the most damaged by the fire of 2008.
Despite the nefarious event, however, the rooms have been admirably restored.
The rooms, in which the fire damages are more visible, have not been rebuilt or have not received different furniture. The original parts carbonized or collapsed, are shown behind a transparent backlit sheet. Architect Maria Carla Visconti is the creator of what has been done.
The exhibition is certainly modern, evocative of the pre-existing parts that leave the ruins surviving the burning on sight, not to forget even that story that took place in Moncalieri Castle.