This palace was the principal childhood home of King Charles IV (King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia) and of his brother King Victor (King Victor Emanuel I of Sardinia). They continued to live here with their wives until 1798. After the restoration of Piedmont to the House of Savoy, the palace was the principal residence of King Victor from 1814 to 1821. Many of the rooms are still decorated in the same fashion as they were two hundred years ago. A number of portraits of the Royal Family hang on the walls.
Only part of the palace - the rooms on the south side of the "Primo Piano Nobile" - is usually open. Sometimes some of the rooms on the east side of the "Primo Piano Nobile" can be visited as part of a guided tour.
The palace is usually entered by the ceremonial staircase of King Victor Emanuel II of Italy. There are several marble busts in the staircase including one of King Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, husband of Anne-Marie d'Orléans, granddaughter of King Charles I.
The Hall of the Swiss Guards is decorated with frescoes recounting the legendary descent of the House of Savoy. One of the frescoes shows a legendary ancestor, Vertegirus, who is described as "Angliae Dux" (Duke of England).
The next room, the Chamber of the Cuirassiers, has a frieze painted by Francesco Gonin showing various historic events. Among the events depicted is the coronation of Victor Amadeus II, husband of Anne-Marie d'Orléans, as King of Sicily. Anne-Marie can be seen kneeling behind her husband.
To the right of this scene is a depiction of King Victor (King Victor Emanuel I of Sardinia) receiving the keys of the city of Turin. King Victor's younger brother, Charles Felix, can be seen in the background.
After passing though the Room of the Footmen and the Chamber of the Pageboys, one enters the Throne Room. The throne is surrounded by a gilt wooden balustrade carved with garlands and cupids. It was originally made for the bedchamber of Queen Maria Theresa, wife of King Victor, when she was Duchess of Aosta.
After passing through the Audience Room, one enters the Council Room where are displayed portraits of members of the House of Savoy renowned for their sanctity. Among these is a portrait of Queen Clothilde, wife of King Charles IV (King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia).
From the Council Room it is often possible to go through the Chinese Cabinet and into the Medagliere Reale and the Armeria Reale.
If one turns left in the Council Room and goes through the Bedroom of King Charles Albert, one enters the Breakfast Room. To the left of the door is an oil portrait of King Charles IV as a young man.
To the right of the portrait of King Charles IV is an oil portrait of Anne-Marie d'Orléans.
In the Scala delle Arie (just off the Sala del Caffè) is a large group portrait of the family of Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy (later King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia); the work dates from 1760 and is attributed to Giuseppe Duprà.1 At the centre of the painting, climbing the stairs, can be seen the nine-year-old future Charles IV. He wears an armoured breastplate over a gold and blue coat. To his left is his infant brother Victor who wears a baby's bonnet and a gold and blue shawl; he holds an arrow in his right hand. Charles reaches out his hand to his father Victor Amadeus who wears an armoured breastplate over a gold coat; wrapped around his shoulders is a great red cloak with ermine lining. Victor Amadeus was first in line to the English and Scottish thrones from 1788 until his death in 1796. He points to an obelisk decorated with a carved relief showing two putti, one holding the arms of the House of Savoy and the other holding two olive branches, the symbol of peace. Next to Victor Amadeus is his wife Infanta Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain; she wears a blue gown and a red cloak with ermine lining. With each of her hands she points towards her two sons. At the far left of the painting are Charles and Victor's sisters, Maria Giuseppina and Maria Teresa. Behind Victor is another sister Maria Anna.
The room immediately after the Sala del Caffè is the Camera dell'Alcova. Above the ornate gilt arch of the room is an oval portrait of Queen Clotilde of Sardinia (wife of King Charles IV) by Angelo Vacca juniore.2 Clotilde is shown seated at a table.
The rooms on the second Piano Nobile now called the “Appartamento dei Principi di Piemonte“ formerly housed the apartment of King Charles IV, when Prince of Piedmont, and his wife Clotilde. Later they were used by his brother Victor, when Duke of Aosta, and his wife Maria Teresa. In the Sala del Ballo (Ball Room) there are portraits of the parents of Charles V and Victor hanging over mirrors; there are similar portraits in the Sala d'Angolo presso il Terrazzo. In the Sala dell'Udienze (Audience Hall) hangs an oval oil portrait of Queen Maria Teresa (wife of King Victor) when still Duchess of Aosta.3 Maria Teresa is seated at a desk reading a letter from her mother Duchess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda of Modena.
Iin the camera da letto di parata of the Duchess of Aosta hangs another oil portrait of Queen Maria Teresa, this one by Giovanni Panealbo.4 Maria Teresa has feathers in her hair, and holds a toy in her hand.
Somewhere in the palace there are matching oval reliefs by Giovanni Battista Bernero with portraits of Charles Emanuel, Prince of Piedmont (later King Charles IV) and his wife Clotilde.5 The portraits are of white Carrara marble and are mounted on oval green marble panels with a gilt bronze frame decorated with laurel leaves. Charles is shown in right profile wearing a powdered wig. Around the edge of the green marble panel is an inscription in gilt bronze, "CAROLUS EMANUEL FERD. PEDEMONTIS PRINCEPS" (Charles Emanuel Ferdinand, Prince of Piedmont). Clotilde is shown in left profile. She wears a very high coiffure in which there sits a decorative comb. The tresses of her hair and the comb are similar to those in a portrait by Giovanni Panealbo in the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica in Turin. Around the edge of the green marble panel is an inscription in gilt bronze, "M. CLOTILDES BORB. CAROLI EMAN. P. P. UXOR" (Marie Clotilde de Bourbon, wife of Charles Emanuel, Prince of Piedmont).
The reliefs were commissioned by Charles' father, King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia, in 1776, the year after Charles and Clotilde were married. They form a set with three other pairs of reliefs commissioned by Victor Amadeus in 1774 and 1775: the first pair show Victor Amadeus III and his wife Infanta Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain; the second pair show his parents (the grandparents of King Charles IV and King Victor), King Charles Emanuel III of Sardinia and his wife Polyxena Christina of Hesse-Rotenburg-Rheinfels; the third pair show his grandparents (the great-grandparents of King Charles IV and King Victor), King Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia and his wife Princess Anne Marie d'Orléans (granddaughter of King Charles I).6 The reliefs were originally designed to hang at the Castello di Moncalieri.
Also in the palace there is a marble bust of Queen Clotilde by Felice Festa.7 She wears a pleated mob-cap and the plain penitential clothes which she wore from 1794 until her death. Around her neck she wears a medallion (probably of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but possibly a of her husband).
There are three landscape paintings which celebrate the restoration of the Savoys to the government of their mainlnad territories in 1814 after the defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte. The first of these is by Angelo Antonio Cignaroli and shows the arrival of King Victor at Genoa, May 9, 1814.8 The second is also by Cignaroli and shows the arrival of Queen Maria Theresa at Genoa on August 22, 1815.8 The third is by Giuseppe Pietro Bagetti and shows the entrance of King Victor into Turin, May 20, 1814.10
Appartamento di Madama Felicita
The Appartamento di Madama Felicita is a suite of eleven rooms on the ground floor of the north side of the Palazzo Reale; it is occasionally open to the public. The suite is named after the aunt of King Charles IV and King Victor, Princess Felicita of Savoy (1730-1801). The suite is sometimes called the Appartamento della Regina, since Queen Elena, wife of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, lived there in the early twentieth century. There are numerous portraits of the Royal Family in these rooms.
In the Camera già da dormire (with red walls) there are three oval portraits by Giovanni Panealbo, all of which hang on top of mirrors:11 Charles standing with a book written by François Fénelon;12 his wife Clotilde; Maria Theresa, Duchess of Aosta (wife of King Victor). In the same room there is a square portrait of Charles as a child wearing a long gold dress; on either side are oval portraits of his parents by Panealbo. There are also portraits of his sisters Maria Teresa and Maria Anna both by Giuseppe Duprà.
In the Gabinetto "detto del terazzo" (also with red walls) is a portrait of another sister Maria Giuseppina; it is a copy of a work by Francesco Drouais.13 In the Camera ultima dell'appartamento (with yellow walls) are portraits of the parents of Charles and Victor as well as of their younger brother Maurizio, all by Domenico Duprà. There are also portraits of their sisters Maria Giuseppina and Maria Anna by Panealbo, and another portrait of Maria Giuseppina by Duprà.14
In the sala del Bagetti is a portrait of a young Charles by Domenico Duprà; it was formerly identified as his younger brother Giuseppe.15 Charles is shown standing three-quarter length in a powdered wig. He wears a light coloured coat with large dark cuffs and a dark waistcoat; the cuffs, breast-panels, and waistcoat are trimmed with gold brocade. Around his neck he wears a black neckerchief tied at the back with a knot. From his shoulders hangs a light cape. In his right hand he grasps the barrel of a gun. His left hand rests on a table on which sits his hat. There is a copy of the portrait by Giuseppe Duprà owned by the Patrimonio Nacional in Madrid; it varies in a number of details of the wig, the clothing, and the placement of the left arm.
1 Enrico Castelnuovo and Marco Rosci, Cultura figurativa e architettonica negli Stati del Re di Sardegna, 1773-1861 (Torino: Città di Torino, 1980), I, 4-5. The oil on canvas painting measures 273 cm high and 328 cm wide. Giuseppe Duprà was born in Turin in 1703 and died in the same city in 1784. He was the younger brother of Domenico Duprà who in the 1740s painted numerous portraits of the Royal Family especially of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Henry, Duke of York; several of these are now at the Palacio de Liria in Madrid.
2 Laureati and Trezzani, 188. There is a photograph of the portrait in Nicola Brancaccio and Maria Adriana Prolo, Dal nido savoiardo al trono d'Italia: vita e politica dei Savoia dall'anno 1000 al 1870 (Milano: Libri Fecondi, 1930), facing p. 226. There is a similar portrait of Clotilde on the second floor of the Palazzina at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome. Angelo Vacca juniore was born in Turin in 1782 or 1783; he died in 1823. He was the son of Angelo Vacca seniore. Vacca juniore painted numerous portraits of the Royal Family especially of King Victor. Cf. Schede Vesme, III, 1063-1064.
3 Laura Laureati and Ludovica Trezzani, Pittura Antica, La Quadreria, Il Patrimonio Artistico del Quirinale (Rome: Electa, 1993), 190. There is a similar portrait of Maria Teresa in the Appartamento del Pannini of the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome.
4 Laureati and Trezzani, 190. There is a similar portrait of Maria Teresa on the second floor of the Palazzina at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome (but where Maria Teresa is painting a miniature instead of holding a toy).
5 Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 76. The relief of Charles Emanuel measures 54 cm wide and 42 cm wide; the relief of Clotilde measures 55.2 cm high and 42 cm wide. Giovanni Battista Bernero was born in Cavallerleone in 1736 and died in Turin in 1796.
6 The reliefs are all very similar in design with the exception of those of Charles Emanuel III and Polyxena Christina which do not have gilt bronze frames.
7 Castelnuovo and Rosci, II, 558. Felice Festa was born in Turin about 1768 and died in the same city in 1826. He designed and sculpted several tombs for the House of Savoy, including that of King Charles IV in the Chiesa di Sant' Andrea al Quirinale in Rome. He also designed and sculpted the tombs of Charles IV's younger brothers Prince Maurizio of Savoy, Duke of Montferrat (1762-1799) in the cathedral of Alghero, Sardinia, and Prince Giuseppe of Savoy, Count of Asti (1766-1802) in the cathedral of Sassari, Sardinia, as well as the tomb of Charles IV's uncle and brother-in-law, Prince Benedetto of Savoy, Duke of Chablais (1741-1808) formerly in the church of San Nicolo dei Cesarini in Rome, and since 1926 in the Basilica di Superga in Turin.
8 Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 284-285. The oil on canvas painting measures 142 cm high and 203 cm wide. Angelo Antonio Cignaroli was born in Turin in 1767 and died in 1841. He inherited from his father Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli the position of royal painter of landscapes
9 Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 284-285. The oil on canvas painting measures 142 cm high and 203 cm wide.
10 Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 285-286. The oil on canvas painting measures 65 cm high and 100 cm wide. Giuseppe Pietro Bagetti was bon in Turin in 1764 and died in the same city in 1831.
11 Appartamento della Regina detto di "Madama Felicita", Torino - Palazzo Reale: Itinerario di visita per la settimana dei musei (Torino: Daniele Piazza, 1985), 32.
12Laureati and Trezzani, 187. There is a similar portrait in the Appartamento Napoleonico of the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome (but with a crown in place of the book). Giovanni Panealbo was a Turinese painter active from 1772 to 1799. He painted numerous portraits of members of the Royal Family; cf. Schede Vesme: L'arte in Piemonte dal XVI al XVIII secolo (Torino: Società Piemontese di Archeologia e Belle Arti, 1968), III, 772-775. There is another portrait of Charles by Panealbo at the Castello di Racconigi. François Fénelon (1651-1715) was Archbishop of Cambrai in France and the author of many works on the spiritual life.
13 Appartamento della Regina detto di "Madama Felicita", 28.
14 Appartamento della Regina detto di "Madama Felicita", 24.
15 Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 6. The oil on canvas painting measures 64 cm high and 47 cm wide. Domenico Duprà wass born in Turin in 1689 and died in the same city in 1770. He painted numerous portraits for the Savoy family. Between 1740 and 1744 he painted at least eight portraits for the Stuarts (one of James III and VIII, and several of each of his sons); there is a portrait by him of Henry, Duke of York in the Musée de l'histoire de France at the Palace of Versailles.
Image 1 (Palazzo Reale facade): "Turismo Torino", http://www.turismotorino.org.
Image 2 (King Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia): © Noel S. McFerran 2015.
Image 2 (Family of King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia): "La famiglia di Vittorio Amedeo, duca di Savoia", http://www.lavenaria.it/mostre/ita/mostre/archivio/2007/reggia_savoia/vittorioamedeoIII.shtml
Image 3 (Camera dell'Alcova): Umberto Chierici, Torino, il Palazzo Reale (Torino: Fratelli Pozzo, 1969), plate 76.
Image 4 (Audience Hall of the Prince of Piedmont): "Sala delle Udienze", http://www.ilpalazzorealeditorino.it/VISITA/Visita%20-%20del%20-%20Palazzo%20Reale%20di%20Torino.asp?Sez=2&SOT=36&Con=50&ID_ARE=4&FL=Secondo%20Piano
Image 5 (Clotilde and Charles Emanuel, Princes of Piedmont): Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 76.
Image 6 (Queen Clotilde of Sardinia): Castelnuovo and Rosci, II, 558.
Image 7 (Arrival of King Victor at Genoa, May 9, 1814): Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 284.
Image 8 (Arrival of Queen Maria Theresa at Genoa, August 22, 1815): Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 285.
Image 9 (Entrance of King Victor into Turin, May 20, 1814): Castelnuovo and Rosci, I, 286.
Image 10 (Charles IV, when Duke of Savoy, by Duprà): I, 6.