Friday, June 14, 2013

Palazzo Madama: a grand stair

Many of us have heard of the Palazzo Madama and its famous stair but how many of us have visited? My Australian penpal made a beeline for Turin and the palace while in Italy recently.
He wrote that the stair did not disappoint and even took his breath away. The stair has been copied around the world and for good reason: just look at it!
While the palace dates to the 1st century BC (seriously old) the stair was the last addition done to the complex in the early 18th century. The work was supposed to be a part of an enormous new baroque palace taking the place of the old castle designed by the Italian architect Filippo Juvarra.
 Only this stair and some interior renovations were completed thanks to numerous wars.
 Despite this there is still much to see; it's a large castle turned fascinating museum with something for everyone.
 The stair is seen above on the piano nobile plan at the bottom center in gray with the Hall of the Senate located in light blue in the center.
This grand and impressive hall was built atop a medieval courtyard with Roman excavations which is accessible from the ground level. I love the picture above with the group of people enjoying a snack in the corner of the grand space.
The collections include art of the Italian Piedmont region with everything from an impressive collection of pottery and china (still in their same location from a 1950s reorganization), fine arts, furniture, and sculpture.
 I wish this was my butler's pantry!
Below you see a painting and model of the immense Palace planned for the site by Juvarra of which only the stair was realized.
 The baroque interiors shimmer with gold and shine under colorful silks and beautiful paintings.
The baroque period was one in which the arts delighted the senses - who can't help but feel overwhelmed and awed by this beauty?
Either Neil is a patient man or the museum is unfortunately under-populated; all of these immense empty rooms with so much to see and no people!
The Italians did tend to over do things. One's eye has nowhere to pause in the image above; maybe not so much of a delight as an inundation of the senses. Bling Bling Bling!
I think I could spend an entire day in the museum though browsing the collections, maybe a trip to Turin is in my future?
 From the gardens one can see the earlier parts of the castle.
 They look particularly lush and green in the springtime and certainly well cared for!
 I love the little fountain in the image above.
Such orderly vegetable gardens in raised beds, I'm sure Martha Stewart would call it a good thing!
I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the Palazzo Madama as much as me!


The Devoted Classicist said...

What a treat! I was trying to figure out which I liked better - the wooden model of the proposed palace or the gigantic painting of it - when I noticed the extraordinary wainscot in that room. It just goes to show that a lot is not necessarily too much.

Hels said...

The palace is special, despite or perhaps because of its various renovations and innovations over the centuries.But I have seen splendid palace architecture before.

It is the VERY impressive collections of porcelain, silver, furniture, sculpture and above all paintings that I remember most clearly. You have two great pictures of baroque paintings, placed with geometric precision along the walls. Thank you!

deana sidney said...

Very polite of you to say Italians over do things sometimes... they surely do and that rococco madness is dizzying, isn't it? They did know how to turn a staircase though, didn't they??

Nadia Palacios Lauterbach said...

Beautiful! And thank you for posting the plan of the palace, it always helps to get a sense of the room layouts. Here's a link to a blog post about sketches with ICAA-TX, I have yet to upload the ones we at Bayou Bend (thank you for stopping by my blog btw!)

Lynne Rutter | the Ornamentalist said...

Heavenly! and they allow photography there? (So many of them don't) what a treat. Thanks for sharing this

Rose C'est La Vie said...

Hi Stefan, yes I did enjoy your virtual tour of a palace I'd never heard of, I confess. I wonder why a great staircase is so deeply satisfying (in the same way a good ramp is somehow!) The shallow rise between steps is always a pleasure to negotiate.

Maria at inredningsvis said...

Your posts are AMAZING:) and they make me smile everytime I visit in here.

Check out my blog....If you want to see a beautiful Swedish country styled house:)

have a great week

LOVE Maria at

Solon said...

Amazing how little anyone says about the magnificent staircase except that it is famous, but no one seems to write more than one or two sentences about it but they go on and on about the exterior façade of the palazzo.