Royal Armoury

Turin’s Royal Armoury is one of the richest collections of arms in Europe.
It was founded by Charles Albert and inaugurated in 1837 inside the Beaumont Gallery, the connection between the Royal Palace and the Department of State (now the Prefecture), called this way in homage to the painter who decorated the vault.
Within the museum itinerary of the Royal Palace, the Royal Armoury offers a magnificent display of horses, armour and objects of applied art.
This museum is dedicated to antique weapons and was inaugurated in 1837, having been conceived by King Carlo Alberto, who had designed an ambitious programme to open the royal collections to the public. In those years, hundreds of paintings and sculptures from the court palaces were allocated to the new Royal Picture Gallery (later the Sabauda Gallery) and, in 1832, the king planned to use the Beaumont Gallery, clearing out all the paintings, to house the museum of objects related to the military glories of the House of Savoy. This space was a wing linking the Royal Palace and the Secretariat of State (now the Prefecture). Having already undergone extensive decorative work during the 18th century, following which it was named after the painter of the ceiling, Claudio Francesco Beaumont, the gallery was only given a permanent role when it became the site of King Carlo Alberto’s museum.
The direction of the Royal Armoury was entrusted first to Roberto d’Azeglio, former director of the Royal Picture Gallery, and then to Vittorio Seyssel d’Aix, captain of the artillery, while multi-talented artist Pelagio Palagi was commissioned to carry out the refurbishment between 1834 and 1848, assisted by cabinet-maker Gabriele Capello, aka Moncalvo. The two artists were responsible for the design and construction of the furnishings required to display the collections, such as the cabinets characterised by a neo-Gothic style in keeping with medieval chivalric theme.
As the collections grew, with new purchases being made on the collectors’ market, it soon became necessary to expand the museum into the adjoining rooms, the Medal Room and the Rotunda.
Access to the Gallery from the Royal Palace is still through the Medal Room, decorated in the 18th century as a Flower Room but completely renovated by Palagi to house Carlo Alberto’s collection of coins and medals. Palagi chose a neoclassical style for this modernisation, with display cases in the shape of Greek temples and decoration of the ceiling with geometric compartments painted by Pietro Ayres set within stuccoes by Diego Marielloni. At the far end of the Gallery, Palagi’s Rotunda houses the weapons used during the Risorgimento, displayed on shelves designed by Palagi, which were originally intended to hold books on military art.
The Royal Armoury was reopened to the public after extensive restoration and restyling work completed in 2005.
Piazzetta Reale, 1 – Torino
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