The Palazzo degli Archivi, a strategic place for the conservation and consultation of documents relating to the political and territorial development of the Savoy State, is connected to the Royal Palace through the building which today is the seat of the Prefecture. King Vittorio Amedeo II prepared the reorganization of the places of power in order to improve the efficiency of State management.
83 km of shelves make up the immense heritage of the Turin State Archives, a goldmine of information covering 1300 years of the history of Piedmont and Europe. As early as the 12th-13th centuries, the Savoy family had begun collecting the most important papers in the former capital of Chambéry. When the capital moved to Turin in 1564, Duke Emanuele Filiberto had the documents moved there too, first to Palazzo Madama and then to Palazzo Ducale. The papers were fundamental for the legitimisation of power and were transported from place to place over the centuries to safeguard them from wars and disasters.
In 1731, the architect Filippo Juvarra received a commission for a building dedicated entirely to archives, to be located in the heart of the “Command Zone” designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte. The construction of a building for this purpose was an exception in the European panorama and was part of the reforms conducted by King Vittorio Amedeo II for the efficient management of the State. With this in mind, it was strategic not only to conserve, but also to facilitate the consultation of documents relating to the political and territorial development of the Savoy State. The archive was connected to the Royal Palace by a long gallery, which still exists and can be walked through, passing through the former Secretariat of State, which now houses the Prefecture and the offices of the Metropolitan City Council. The interior consists of five central modules, made up of three overlapping rooms furnished with large walnut wood wardrobes, and two five-storey side modules, where the staircases and some service rooms are located. The exterior was decorated with giant pilasters, in an ideal correspondence between architectural rigour and the rationality of the interior layout. As a result, the Archives became a modern institution, the efficiency and utility of which are still appreciated today by scholars from all over Italy and the world. The complex archive system is now organised in the Juvarra building in Piazza Castello and in the former San Luigi Gonzaga hospital at Via Piave 21.
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