Welcome to Palazzo Madama!
Palazzo Madama is a large historic building that now houses the collections of the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, Turin’s municipal museum of ancient art.
The visit thus consists of two tours in one: you will learn about the history of the building, as well as about the works of art it contains.
The visit covers four floors, taking you on a sort of journey through time: in the basement, down by the Roman foundations, there is the Lapidario Medievale – the medieval stonework collection – with stone sculptures and jewellery. From there you can reach the Medieval Garden, a heaven of nature and silence in the heart of Turin; the ground floor is mainly devoted to the fifteenth-century castle and to the art of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. In the Treasure Tower, you will find the Portrait of a Man by Antonello da Messina. The Baroque rooms on the first floor contain the art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with paintings and with furniture by Pifetti and Prunotto in lavishly decorated settings. Lastly, on the second floor, you will be able to see the decorative arts of all ages: ceramics, ivories, jewellery, fabrics, glasswork, and much more besides.The Museum was set up in 1861 by the City of Turin to bring together and house the heritage of Piedmont.
This is why most of the works in Palazzo Madama come from the region and from neighbouring areas. You will discover the works of great artists and craftsman, which will help you understand the culture and artistic tastes of an Alpine and frontier region which was governed for six centuries by the Savoy dynasty. But there is more to the spirit of the Museum: that of its great masterpieces and one that takes inspiration from the great international museums of the applied arts. The immense collections on this floor were initially set up by the first directors of the museum as a catalogue of models for Piedmontese craftsmen, and they now form one of the greatest collections of the applied arts in Italy. During your visit be prepared to embark on a rather meandering journey: you will often need to retrace your steps, with the aid of your map and the signage, in order to go on to the next room.
A complete, though not exhaustive visit takes at least an hour and a half, so if you cannot come back soon, plan your visit carefully and choose the areas you are most interested in. Along the way, you will find information about the rooms, detailed guides to the works, and multimedia workstations. You can rent audio-guides at the ticket office, and in the bookshop (on the right as you enter the Palazzo) you can buy guidebooks, postcards, museum publications and more.
Enjoy your visit!