The Baroque façade
|Town or city||Turin|
|Client||Emmanuel Philibert, Prince of Carignano|
|Design and construction|
The Palazzo Carignano is a historical building in the centre of Turin, Italy, which currently houses the Museum of the Risorgimento. It was once a private residence of the Princes of Carignano, after whom it is named. It is famous for its unique rounded façade. It is located on the Via Accademia delle Scienze.
The construction of the Palazzo Carignano was ordered by Emmanuel Philibert, son of Thomas Francis, Prince of Carignano and his French wife Marie de Bourbon. Construction started in 1679 when the Prince was 51 years of age.
Guarini designed a vast structure in the shape of a square; he had a straight and restrained east facade created and a lavish and very unusual elliptical facade, on the west. Guarini also added a large forecourt at the centre of the palace.
The decorations over the windows of the piano nobile recall the campaign of the Carignano family with Carignan-Salières Regiment against the Iroquois in 1667. The interior has always been described as lavish and has splendid frescoes and stucco decorations. Among the frescoes are some by Stefano Legnani, called il Legnanino. The main stairwell is decorated with busts by Pietro Somazzi.
The building, constructed in brick in a typical Baroque style, is remarkable for its elliptical main façade. This facade represents the only example of civic architecture making use of the undulating 'concave – convex – concave' rhythm established by Francesco Borromini in the church of S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome.
The Palazzo was the birthplace of the future princesse de Lamballe in 1749 – confidant of Marie Antoinette and for whom she lost her life in 1792. Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Carignano was born there in 1770. It was also the birthplace of the first King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II in 1820.
From 1848 to 1861 the palace was used as the House of Deputies of the Subalpine Parliament. In 1861, with the creation of the parliament of the newly unified Kingdom of Italy, the room became too small to host the House of Deputies, which was moved elsewhere.
- Palazzo Carignano, from the site of the Museo nazionale del Risorgimento italiano.