Page C1.1 . 29 October 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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Juvarra in Turin

by Richard Haut

The Duke of Savoy was in search of an architect to help him transform the city of Turin in the Italian Piedmont. The duke wanted his capital to be a modern, successful city of his Late Baroque period, that would show that the powerful House of Savoy stood at the forefront of world architecture.

Through his friend, Cardinal Ottobono in Rome, Duke Vittorio Amedeo the Second met Filippo Juvarra. This young Sicilian theater designer had trained with Carlo Fontana, an architect who had worked with the great Gianlorenzo Bernini. Impressed with the young man's enthusiasm and talent, the duke appointed him Royal Architect to the House of Savoy.

The year was 1714. Juvarra, then 35, began a 20-year career of transforming Turin, in sacred and secular buildings, and in the town plan itself.

Making a Place in Europe

Turin occupies a pivotal position between Rome to the south and central Europe to the north. By the early 18th century, relations between the two regions had become strained. The Reformation had split the Christian Church. It looked as if the power of Rome itself had been weakened, but Rome struck back with the Counter Reformation, an open snub to the serious, even grim, world of the Protestant reformers. Rome reveled in glorifying God and the wonders of faith.   >>>

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The Palazzo Madama is a medieval fortress with a baroque facade by 18th-century architect Filippo Juvarra.
Photo: Richard Haut

ArchWeek Image

Palazzo Madama facing a broad baroque boulevard.
Photo: Richard Haut


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