martedì 22 febbraio 2011

Celebrations for the 150th Anniversary of Italian unification in Turin and Piedmont


Torino and Piemonte present Esperienza Italia, a huge event focussing on Italy and its best qualities to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
Masterpieces of art and culture, creativity, innovation, fashion, history and food: from 17 March 2011 the best that Italy has to offer the world will be on show in
Torino and Piemonte.

A packed programme including exhibitions, events, sports, shows, concerts and conferences has been planned, providing a chance to reflect on the process of unification and the construction of the Italian identity, looking forward to the future of the country.

The two beating hearts of Esperienza Italia will be the Officine Grandi Riparazioni and the Venaria Reale. The former, located just a short distance from the historic centre of Torino, will be transformed into the Officina dell’Italia (The Workshop of Italy): a workshop where visitors can reconstruct Italy’s past and project themselves into the future.

At the same time, the majestic baroque complex of the Venaria Reale – just a few miles outside Torino – will be turned into the Reggia d’Italia, an exhibition of the amazing creations of Italian geniuses. Over the months of celebration, there will be a great many events to enjoy together. Esperienza Italia is an absolutely unmissable and unforgettable occasion: being there is whole other story.


The Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR) represent a great example of the legacy of industrial architecture in the heart of Torino, having been opened in the 1800s as a factory for the construction and repair of trains and railway carriages. Over time the O.G.R. were transformed into a workshop for the rail way repair works and a storage warehouse for machine tools, before finally being decommissioned in the early 1990s.

The complex is shaped like the letter H, with two parallel buildings of almost 200 metres in length linked crossways by a third, lower building. The interior features rows of large cast iron pillars, which seem to form imposing naves in this “cathedral” of Torino’s industrial history.

The restoration plan, to be concluded in 2011 in order to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, has seen the complex transformed into a vast exhibition space covering 20,000 square metres. The Officina dell’Italia will be sited here, providing a space to reconstruct the past, reflect on the present and tackle the challenges of the future in three large exhibition-workshops. Fare gli italiani. 150 anni di storia nazionale, Stazione Futuro. Qui si rifà l’Italia and il Futuro nelle mani. Artieri domani.

At the end of the event the OGR will be back in use immediately, becoming a new location for cultural activities in Torino.

Venaria Reale, galleria


The Venaria Reale was built between the 17th and 18th centuries as a hunting and holiday home for the Savoy family. It was designed by great architects including Amedeo di Castellamonte Garove, Filippo Juvarra and Benedetto Alfieri.
Over the course of two centuries, the Venaria was extended until it became an extraordinary combination of buildings and open space, including the current historic centre, the Palace, the Gardens and the nearby Parco La Mandria.

After the Napoleon occupation, the Venaria fell into a long period of disuse. In 1997 however, the Reggia di Venaria and the Mandria residence were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, clear recognition of the decisions taken by local and national institutions which, in just a few years, had led to the complete rebirth of this monumental complex.

Starting in 1998, the Venaria was the largest restoration project in Europe, finally opening to the public in 2007. Today it is amongst the top five most visited heritage sites in Italy.
In 2011 the restoration project will reach its zenith, proving further visiting spaces in the 80,000 square metres of the Palace and the 50 hectares of the Gardens. As part of the celebrations for Italy’s 150th birthday, the Venaria Reale will become the Reggia d’Italia, a place to admire the qualities that make Italian identity so strong: art, food, fashion and genius. There will be three exhibitions: La Bella Italia.

Arte e identità delle città capitali; Moda in Italia. 150 anni di eleganza; and Leonardo. Il genio, il mito. Meanwhile, in the spectacular
setting of the Gardens you can lose yourself amongst the plants and orchards of the new Potager Royal.

”Officine Grandi Riparazioni”
19 March - 20 November 2011

This exhibition tells the history of Italy from national unification to the present day, not as a series of events, but as the story of a people. The focus is the Italian people, considered in their diversity and their stories recounted in all the phases which saw them come together with a feeling of common belonging.
All of these steps form part of a 150-year journey which saw“the making of Italians. In order to tell the story of this century and a half of unity in a critical manner, the exhibition highlights the main elements that have held the people of Italy together and, vice-versa, those that have maintained or fed divisions, representing them through a variety of stories and expressive forms. The multimedia, creative and technological focus of the exhibition invites visitors to choose the path they wish to follow and explore it interactively,
along two parallel pathways. The first follows a chronological logic, with a sequence of dates that recount the most important dates of Italian history and accompany the entire exhibition. The second comprises 13 "themed islands, focussing on the phenomena which have had the greatest influence on the Italian national character.

”Officine Grandi Riparazioni”
19 March - 20 November 2011

Italy is set to undergo great changes over the next 20 years. The advent of broadband will make access to the internet widespread, opening the way for telepresence and telemedicine, and eliminating bureaucratic red tape. We will all be connected, to share knowledge, do research, launch businesses and bring about innovation. The internet will give innovators greater power and could be the trigger for a new industrial revolution. Cars will be electric, houses will produce the clean energy that they consume, and diseases will be halted as soon as they strike.

”Officine Grandi Riparazioni”
17 March - 20 November 2011

Inspired by the Esposizioni internazionali delle Industrie e del Lavoro (International Expositions of Industry and Work) organised
in Torino in 1911 and 1961, this exhibition-workshop outlines the positive prospect of new kind of “metropolitan craftsmanship”. The exhibition is divided into three sections: La galleria delle botteghe is an arts and crafts supermarket occupied in turns by the "crème de la crème" of Italian craftwork, which brings together the project’s ethos with the resources available in Italy; Il tunnel del treno fantasma highlights that particular form of sophisticated craft represented today by “digital work”; and finally Le nuove officine,
installed in the former OGR to exhibit the workshops, projects and products of highly regarded architects, artists and craftsmen,
and above all young creative types and many emigrants and Italians abroad who have illustrated the talent of Italy across the world.

”Scuderia Citroniera Juvarriane e Reggia di
Venaria Reale
17 March – 11 September 2011

The imposing setting of the Scuderie Juvarriane at the Reggia di Venaria provides the stage for an exhibition of over 300 masterpieces that trace a path through history from Medieval times to the eve of unification in 1861. The story is told through the cultural capitals of pre-unification Italy: Torino, Florence, Rome, and then Milan, Venice, Genoa, Bologna, Naples, Palermo and Modena. The exhibition takes us back in time to reconstruct the image of the cities and the contribution of each one to Italy’s art and identity: Torino, with its Risorgimento spirit, which brought Italy to unification and endowed its scientific and military innovations to the Kingdom of Italy; Florence, cradle of the Italian language and the arts; Rome, the centre of the ancient world and the Catholic religion - two great unifying factors; Milan, with its international outlook, modernity and entrepreneurial spirit; Venice, with its links
to the East and the myth of good government; Genoa, capital of finance and the arts due to its beauty and wealth; Bologna, with its prestigious university and the pursuit of the classical ideal in art; Naples, rich in Mediterranean charm and a door to both Europe and the East; and lastly Palermo, multiethnic and separatist in outlook; Parma and Modena with the art and collecting of the princes patrons.
This multi-faceted view of identity and diversity is brought alive through the works of great artists: Giotto, Beato Angelico, Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Correggio, Bronzino, Tiziano, Veronese, Caravaggio, Rubens, Tiepolo, Canova, Hayez and many more besides.

”Sale delle Arti della Reggia di Venaria Reale”
23 July – 11 December 2011

The striking Sale delle Arti of the Reggia di Venaria host a journey into the history of fashion and Italian style, beginning with the clothing of 18th century nobility and ending with the creations of great contemporary designers, with images documenting and recreating the atmospheres and issues of the different eras. The exhibition runs through the stages that have seen fashion transformed over 150 years, turning it into a distinctive mark of Italian excellence across the world.
The nucleus of the exhibition features the prestigious collection of the Sartoria teatrale Tirelli . Some creations of the main contemporary Italian designers are also included to provide a thorough look back at the last 50 years.

”Scuderia Grande della Reggia di Venaria Reale”
21 October 2011 - 8 January 2012

Leonardo da Vinci’s polymathic genius is retold through the theme of his representation in history of art, both in natural portraits and his official image. The exhibition includes one of the masterpieces of the Savoy collections, Leonardo’s Autoritratto, a drawing in red chalk held at the Biblioteca Reale di Torino.
Alongside this famous image, the spectacular exhibition features other original works showing Leonardo’s face at various different ages: portraits by his students, sculptures and paintings by famous artists lead to the fascinating conclusion of the exhibition, which seems to suggest that there is a portrait of Leonardo hidden in a page of the Codice sul volo degli uccelli, which is also held by the Biblioteca Reale di Torino.

”Reggia di Venaria Reale”
From 16 of April 2011

The Italian landscape combines with the art of good taste and fine flavours for the opening of the Potager Royal in the Gardens
of the Reggia di Venaria. An area of 10 hectares that extends to the east and west of the Cascina Medici del Vascello, right up to the Venaria, constitutes the largest ornamental vegetable garden in Italy, containing thousands of plants, fruit trees and cereal crops that are typical of the local area.
The garden provides a perfect atmosphere to present and promote biodiversity and the food and wine heritage that makes Italian produce and cooking stand out. Visitors can enjoy botanical, cultural and gastronomic aspects of the gardens as they walk through extensive croplands, vegetable gardens and lawns. Ornamental water features and fountains lead into whole areas covered by greenhouses sheltering flowers and vegetable plants. Between March and November, there will be one chance each month to complete this amazing tour with the Cene Regali, tasting the typical dishes of Italy’s regional cuisines prepared by award-winning chefs – all in the magnificent setting of the Galleria Grande. Alternatively, you could round off a visit with a spot of shopping at the
prestigious food and wine market set up around the Reggia.

Torino, a city renewed

For the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification, Torino – Italy’s first capital – has a number of surprises and new attractions in store: many historic palaces are reopening, monuments have been restored and returned to their original splendour, there are new museum exhibitions to enjoy as well as new parks and gardens.

Palazzo Carignano, Torino, museo del risorgimento

Hosted in
Palazzo Carignano , the Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento italiano (The National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento) is set to reopen following important renovation works in the exhibition spaces and a complete redesign of the museum layout.
The museum was originally set up in 1938 in this Baroque palace designed by Guarini, once the birthplace of Italian kings Carlo Alberto and
Vittorio Emanuele II  and the seat of the Subalpine Parliament. It is now being reopened with new exhibition criteria and a new layout designed by Richard Peduzzi. Out of the 25,000 items held by the museum, some 2,400 have been selected for this exhibition,
which looks back at the Risorgimento – the process of Italian unification – from European viewpoints as
well as Torinese, Piedmontese and Italian perspectives.


Palazzo Madama, which was the home of the Subalpine Senate from 1848 and the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, is now set to offer visitors two interesting attractions. The Medieval Court sees the inauguration of MuseoTorino with Torino: storia di una città (Torino: Story of a City), a spectacular multimedia exhibition giving visitors the chance to travel back in time to reconstruct the birth and evolution of the city. Meanwhile, the piano nobile (the main level of a stately home) is the site for the reconstruction of the Salone del Senato – the wooden amphitheatre built as the headquarters of the Subalpine Senate.


The Museo dell’Automobile, the only automobile museum in Italy, is being reopened to the public after renovation works and a complete redesign of the internal layout and exhibition pathway. The new museum will recount the history of the automobile and its transformation from means of transport to cult object, from its origins up to the contemporary development of creative thought in the sector.


The Appartamento di Rappresentanza (Apartment of State) is to be reopened to the public following restoration works along with the Sala del Trono (Throne Room) and the Sala del Consiglio (the Council Room), where Carlo Alberto signed the Statuto Albertino, as well as the Appartamento dei Principi di Piemonte (Apartment of the Princes of Piemonte), where Vittorio Emanuele II and Queen Maria Adelaide lived.

Renovation works have been completed on the Mastio della Citadella, the only surviving building of the 16th century fortification. The building will once again host the artefacts of the Museo Nazionale d’Artiglieria.


The area along the River Dora, the site of factories and workshops until just a few decades ago, has been the subject of important regeneration works in recent years. The new Parco Dora will complete the transformation of the area, offering 450,000 square metres of parkland for relaxing, playing sports and enjoying the outdoors.

A nexus of history, art and culture. Risorgimento tours around Piemonte

The echoes and memories of the Italian Risorgimento can be seen across the entirety of Piemonte: places, museums, memorials and historical artefacts represent tangible signs of remembrance of the past. The Cittadella (Citadel) of Alessandria was the site, in March 1821, of the start of the Carbonari uprisings led by Santorre di Santarosa following the appointment of the young Carlo Alberto as Regent. In those days, the garrison of the citadel would rise up to the cry “Viva la Costituzione!” (Long live the Constitution!). Famous prisoners of the most important military stronghold of the Kingdom include the Mazzinian patriot Andrea Vochieri, before his execution by firing squad, and in 1867 Giuseppe Garibaldi, after the defeat at Mentana.

In 1848, Torino took the leading role in the events that would lead to Italian unification. Palazzo Reale, the royal palace, has a symbolic role as it is where Carlo Alberto conceded the Statuto Albertino (the precursor to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Italy) on 4 March
Palazzo Madama and Palazzo Carignano became the sites for the Subalpine Senate and Parliament, respectively.
It was here that the Justice Minister Giuseppe Siccardi brought in the laws bearing his name, which were immediately approved despite great resistance due above all to their abolition of the three great privileges of the clergy in the Kingdom: the Ecclesiastical Forum - the separate court for men of the church; the right of asylum - legal immunity for those who requested refuge in churches; and mortmain - the prohibition on selling church property. The Obelisk erected in Piazza Savoia in 1853 serves to remember these very laws.
Just as important are some of the meeting places of the leading factions in the events of the Risorgimento: the Circolo del Whist, Ristorante del Cambio, Caffè Fiorio, Caffè del Bicerin and the Caffè San Carlo. Whilst in Florence, Milan and Rome, cafés were places of artistic and literary discussion, in Torino the main subject of discussion was politics. Indeed, Caffé Fiorio on via Po – a meeting place for lecturers, students and conservative, reactionary aristocrats known as “codini” - was where Roberto d’Azeglio first broke the news of the imminent concession of the Statuto.

Historical events came to a head in 1849 when defeat by Radetzky’s Austrians during the “fatal Novara” (the humiliation of Novara) led to a harsh peace treaty, the abdication of Carlo Alberto and the extinguishing of the last hopes generated by the 1848 uprisings and the first War of Independence. A short distance from the place of the defeat - the district of Bicocca and Vignale, site of the armistice – there is the splendid dome of the church of San Gaudenzio, designed by Antonio Antonelli, as well as the new museum layout of the monumental Broletto justice complex.

The events following the end of the reign of Carlo Alberto and the ascent to the throne of Vittorio Emanuele II took place not only in Torino but also in Moncalieri, with its famous castle. It was here that the King ruled on the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies through the Editto di Moncalieri (Moncalieri Proclamation), after the deputies had expressed themselves in favour of continuing the war on Austria.

During these years, the leading political role of Camillo Benso di Cavour was established and a tour through Risorgimento Piemonte cannot possibly neglect places associated with Cavour.
The Complesso Cavouriano in Santena, featuring important furnishings, as well as a library and an archive, forms an amazing combination of art and culture. The complex is also home to Cavour’s tomb, known as the man who "stitched together Italian unity”.

Camillo Benso Conte di CavourOne of the lesser known aspects about the statesman is his innovative take on farming techniques: the countryside estate of Leri in Trino Vercellese was the site for the development of what were then cutting edge agricultural activities, as well as economic initiatives. In order to bring enough water to irrigate a vast area of eastern Piemonte and the adjoining Lomellina plain, Cavour designed the Canale Cavour, which was realised thanks to the help of Vercelli-based surveyor Francesco Rossi.

The entrance to the Canale Cavour from the Po to Chivasso represents an interesting work of industrial archaeology.
The canal and the overall plan to manage the irrigation water are without doubt an innovative example of public cooperation led by local farmers, a model for many other places in Europe. The final stage of the tour round Cavour country is in the province of Cuneo, near
Alba  and in the middle of the Barolo wine area: from within the Castello di Grinzane Cavour, the count carried out research on the agriculture sector and wine making.

Two places are inseparably tied to the history of two important associates of the great statesman: Firstly, Biella’s Palazzo La Marmora was the birthplace of Alfonso Ferrero della Marmora who, as Minister of War, organised
the Piedmontese army. He was a courageous participant in the Crimean War and the Second War of Italian Independence, later becoming Prime Minister following unification. Secondly, Castelnuovo Nigra was the hometown of Costantino Nigra, a great diplomat and statesman, writer and poet, philologist and a sharp thinker who, when sent to the court of Napoleon III, carried out a fundamental role in brokering the alliance with France which led to the successes of the Second War of Independence.

The main events of 2011


Piemonte is hosting a unique and prestigious programme of events dedicated to Italy and its 150th birthday: theatre, opera, classical and contemporary music concerts, fairs, film festivals, exhibitions and conventions are all set to be held in the region’s main cultural sites.
The Teatro Regio is laying on a season dedicated to Verdi, whilst the Teatro Stabile is planning a special Laboratorio Italia, featuring the best of Italian theatre. Both before and during the celebrations, Torino will be lit up by Luci d’Artista (Artist Lights), which sees 17 works of art provide a stimulating and unconventional perspective on the urban landscape.
Art comes back to the fore again in November with a special edition of ContemporaryArt as well as the Artissima festival. Then, in April, there is the second edition of the Biennale Democrazia (Democracy Biennial), entitled Tutti.
Molti. Pochi (All, Many, Few), focussing on the management of power within a democratic state. A further important opportunity for
debate, this time on the Italian language, is provided by the 80th International Congress of the Società Dante Alighieri, taking place from 30 September to 2 October. Feature films, shorts and documentaries at the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, exhibitions in the main city museums and special events for the Cioccolatò festival (25 March to 3 April) and the Salone Internazionale del Libro (International Book Fair) help make up this lively and interesting cultural programme. Furthermore, the Provincia di Torino has also put together 11 different tours looking at the Risorgimento, taking in the places that provided the backdrop for the birth of united Italy.

From the lakes of Piemonte’s mountainous regions to the areas around Cuneo and the Monregalese, from the valleys of Torino to
Monferrato , Langhe  and Roero  and beyond the rice fields, from Ghemme to Gattinara, the programme of 100 music, theatre, cinema, dance, street art and contemporary circus festivals that make up Piemonte dal Vivo provide both the focus and the background to exploring places and the history of Italy. The beautiful site of the Castello di Racconigi is the ideal setting for Vittorio Emmanuele II – Re Galantuomo (The Gentleman King), an exhibition dedicated to the first King of Italy. Arca, in collaboration with the Fondazione Guggenheim, is laying on an exhibition relating to the 150th anniversary celebrations in Vercelli, whilst Biella’s Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto offers a perfect setting for young artists to meet. A centuries-old tradition is revived with the Palio di Asti horserace and in the Langhe hills the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco  d’Alba (International White Truffle Fair in Alba) and the Cheese festival in Bra return once again.


During 2011, the city and province of Torino will be hosting several prestigious international competitions. First and foremost, on 7 May the first stage of the Giro d’Italia cycling race will take place between the Reggia di Venaria and Torino city centre, symbolically commemorating the fact that the difficult path to a united Italy began right here. The European Diving Championships (8-13 March) are also set to be held in Torino, along with the Ladies Fencing World Cup (11-13 March) and the World Archery Championships (1-17 July). Youth sport also features prominently, with Torino hosting important events like the National University Sport Championships, (20-
30 May), the Regional Basketball Trophy (20-25 April) and the Kinderiadi volleyball competition (26 June – 1 July). Finally, Torino will host over more unusual sporting offerings like the European Twirling Championship and the World Dance Games.


During the Spring, Torino will also host the main national meetings of Italy’s Associations for the Armed Forces. First up is the meeting of the Granatieri di Sardegna (Sardinian Grenadiers)
from 15-17 April, followed by the Alpini (Alpine Regiment) from 6-8 May. The Arma di Cavalleria (Cavalry Branch) association will be meeting on 20-22 May while between 10-12 June the Arma Aeronautica (Aeronautical Branch) – which has historic ties to Torino, since the Italian aeronautical industry was born here – will come together. Between 15 and 19 June the 59° Raduno nazionale dei Bersaglieri (59th National Meeting of the Bersaglieri Infantry), which was created in Torino in 1836, will take place. June also sees the meeting of Assoarma whilst the last event of the year will be held on 10 and 11 September with the national meeting of the Vigili del Fuoco (Fire Service).


Corso Vinzaglio 17, 10121 Torino
Tel. +39 011 5539600
Fax +39 011 19508012

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Questo post è stato scritto su richiesta di molti lettori di lingua inglese

This post was written at the request of many readers of English



Comitato Italia 150 per Esperienza Italia.
Si ringrazia Lorenzo Castellani
per la redazione di ‘Percorsi risorgimentali
in Piemonte’


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