The ancient castle was bought by Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy on the advice of Andrea Palladio. The name Valentino, first mentioned in 1275, seems to derive from a saint called Valentine whose relics were venerated in a church which stood nearby.
A cutaway drawing of the palace.
The current structure is due to Princess Christine Marie of France (1606–1663), wife of Victor Amadeus I, who dwelt here from 1630. It has a horseshoe shape, with four round towers at each angle, and a wide inner court with a marble pavement. The ceilings of the false upper floors are clearly in transalpino (i.e. French) style. The façade sports a huge coat of arms of the House of Savoy. Works lasted until 1660.
Minor modifications were made in the early nineteenth century; at this time, too, much of the seventeenth-century furniture was carried off by French troops. For the next half century the palace was more or less abandoned and fell into a state of disrepair. Renovations were carried out in 1860 when it was selected as the seat of the engineering faculty of Turin; it has been further restored in recent years.
Today it is the central building of the Architecture faculty of the Polytechnic University of Turin.