The majestic Senate Hall created in 1638 has witnessed crucial historical events for the history of Italy, Europe and their citizens. The large hall on the first floor, formerly owned by the Swiss, is used as a classroom in the Subalpine Senate. The architect Ernesto Melano transforms the space into a large auditorium made up of seats and grandstands, a set-up designed as a temporary one and which does not compromise the original state, being independent, detached from the walls. Above the great monumental order, decorations are painted depicting the deeds of the Savoy house over the centuries.

The classroom is a much smaller room than it looks on the TV, it is covered in red (previously it was blue for various reasons, all re-attached to the colors of the Savoy banner). Behind the seat of the Senate President there are two inscriptions on two rectangular plaques: one cites the form of government currently in force in Italy, namely the Republic; The other is much older and gives the words with which Vittorio Emanuele II commemorated the unity of Italy. The cupola ceiling is painted with a painted cloth, called the Velario, which contains the medallions with the effigies of four jurisprudents, the four civic virtues and the four capitals of the pre-kingdoms.

The hall is named after Caesar Maccari, who decorated it after winning a contest banned by the Ministry of Education in 1880. The decorations affect the ceiling in the form of four allegorical figures surrounding the central motif depicting a personification of triumphant Italy. The four medallions represent specifically trade and agriculture (industry), weapons, sciences and arts. Allegories are depicted in the form of goddess incarnation as girls.

It is a large salon used for representation functions, created at the beginning of the thirties from the demolition of a dividing wall and provided with a modern style chest of drawers.

In the seventeenth-century frieze to the Buvette, figures of putti and lions prevail, and in the other there are female figures. The room is enriched by six historic frescoes.

It differs from the other in order not to have the usual Medici frieze, replaced, in the golden wooden ceiling with chest of drawers by an ostrich. Probably was chosen in honor of Margaret of Austria, for the game of words in French “Autriche” (Austria) and “autruche” (ostrich). There is also the possibility that this animal has been chosen as a heraldic symbol of speed and precedence, that is, of firmness and strength. It is, however, certain that the ostrich has been chosen by a Medici family who does not have religious positions in view of the crown that overwhelms the head of the animal.

During the Risorgimento it hosted the Hall of the Subalpine Senate from 1848 to 1861 and then it welcomed the Italian Senate from 1861 to 1864. The last session was held on December 9, 1864 with the approval of the law for the transfer of the capital from Turin to Florence. Article 33 of the Albertine Statute established that senators were appointed for life by the king among the members of the Savoy nobility, the highest expression of the royal and governmental will, as a reward for the services rendered by the illustrious characters and elderly officials of the court.

In 1860, the hall host the opening session of the first parliament of northern and central Italy. On April 2 an inflamed speech by the sovereign Vittorio Emanuele II opens the work. Due to the too limited capacity of the classroom, the Palace cannot host the first parliamentary session of the new Kingdom of Italy, which meets on 18 February 1861 at Palazzo Carignano.

The historic amphitheater of the subalpine Senate will be rebuilt within a year at Palazzo Madama. Made of wood in 1848 by the architect Ernest Melano, it was dismantled in 1927, under the pretext of bringing to light the eighteenth-century forms of the Savoy residence.

It was here that on 10 January 1859 King Vittorio Emanuele II renewed his historical words with which Risorgimento Piedmont challenged Austria: “We are not insensitive – he said – to the cry of pain that rises from us from many parts of Italy ». The phrase is remembered as the beginning of the hostilities that led to the victorious second war of independence. It was then in this same room that on 18 February 1861 the first senators of the newborn Kingdom of Italy were convened, with Turin as its first capital.

In the reformulation of the museum spaces in the Restoration 2013, the choice to allocate the large Sala del Senato to temporary exhibitions , which can be accessed after having walked the monumental staircase, and make it freely accessible from an integral part of the pedestrian path.

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It will be Italy.
The city tries to recover the icon of the lost Senate. It will be rebuilt where it was originally located, in the largest of the halls of Palazzo Madama, the one now used for exhibitions. Here a light, self-supporting structure will be installed, detached from the walls. It will reproduce the volumes of the disappeared parliamentary room, with a setting entrusted to the “Workshop of ideas” and to the stage laboratory of the Teatro Regio.

Palazzo Madama celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy with the reconstruction of the Great Hall of the Senate.The project was carried out thanks to the significant contribution of the CRT Foundation and the Italia 150 Committee, in collaboration with the Teatro Regio of Turin and is included in the Italia 150 Experience program. The intention of creating a structure as faithful as possible to the original has entailed the examination of some nineteenth-century iconographic sources and the careful study of a vast historical documentation, found in the State Archives of Turin, the Polytechnic of Turin, the Superintendence for Architectural and Landscape Heritage and the Central Archive of the State of Rome. The results of historical research, with an in-depth analysis of the history of Palazzo Madama in the nineteenth century, and the complex work of scenic construction will be collected in a catalog edited by Enrica Pagella, whose publication is made possible by the contribution of the Lions Clubs of Turin. The volume confirms the now consolidated synergy between Lions and Palazzo Madama.

The public will be able to relive one of the most significant moments in the history of the Italian Risorgimento. It will be ItalyIt will also be an opportunity to offer a space dedicated to discussion and discussion on current issues such as democracy, civil coexistence and social life, during the 256 opening days, thanks to an articulated program of activities aimed at all visitors and schools, the Senate room will become a real and great citizenship education laboratory for children and adults, who will also have the opportunity to live the voting experience.

At the center will have the auditorium, with the presidency table and the throne for the King. Around it will be the degrading 300 red stalls of the senators, at the foot of a double colonnaded gallery, with the stands of honor. The work will be finished with decorations in fake gray marble, taken from those still visible in the upper part of the walls and on the vault. The floor will be covered with green velvet as the third shade of the Italian flag. The furnishings will have carved furniture, lamps and balustrades.

For this reason, a 20-minute multimedia path has been studied which, through videos and audio dramatizations, will make known and relive the most significant stages in the history of the Senate and some important debates held in the classroom between 1848 and 1864. A series of conferences and study days by important historians and journalists, they will have as their theme the great discourses of democracy, but there will also be readings of classics, concerts and theatrical monologues. An integral part of the Senate project is the creation of a website which will provide all the insights and information related to the museum activities and the history of the first Italian Senate, with cards dedicated to the characters who animated it, to the debates that took place here.

Sounds and voices, spread by multimedia installations, will give back to Piedmont the memory of what was its parliamentary democracy. They will tell the story of a Senate that was one of the most active in the history of the Kingdom of Italy.

Madama Palace
Palazzo Madama and Casaforte degli Acaja is an architectural and historical complex located in the central Piazza Castello in Turin. Having played a leading role in its history from Roman times through to the present day, it was declared a World Heritage Site with the other Residences of the House of Savoy in 1997. Palazzo Madama, as part of the Savoy Residences serial site. The building houses the Civic Museum of Ancient Art.

It is a combination of two thousand years of Turin ‘s history, from the ancient eastern gate of the Roman colony of Julia Augusta Taurinorum to a defensive stronghold, then to a real castle, a symbol of Savoy power until at least the sixteenth century, when the current Royal Palace, as the seat of the Duke of Savoy.

The western part of the first medieval complex was later called Palazzo Madama because it was first inhabited by Madama Cristina of Bourbon-France, called the “first Royal Madama”, in the period around 1620 – 1663, then fromMaria Giovanna Battista di Savoia-Nemours, called the “second Royal Madama”, in the period 1666 – 1724. It was for the latter that the current facade was designed, in 1716 – 1718, by the court architect Filippo Juvarra.

The visit covers four floors, where the centuries-old story of its construction interacts with the collections of the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, which have been here since 1934.

The early centuries of the Middle Ages are illustrated in the Mediaeval Stonework Collection on the moat level, with its sculptures, mosaics, and jewellery dating from the Later Antique period to the Romanesque. The fifteenth-century rooms on the ground floor contain paintings, sculptures, miniatures and precious objects from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, mainly from Piedmont. In the circular room in the Treasure Tower there is a selection of masterpieces, including the famous Portrait of a Man by Antonello da Messina. On the piano nobile, with its stunning array of Baroque stuccoes and frescoes, there is the modern picture gallery with works from the Savoy Collections and an important selection of furniture made by Piedmontese, Italian, and French master cabinetmakers. Lastly, the top floor houses the decorative arts collections, which are a key part of the museum’s assets, with majolica and porcelain, glasswork and ivories, fabrics and lace, jewellery and metals, as well as the stunning collection of gilded, painted and sgraffito glass, unrivalled in terms of its quantity and quality.