From stronghold to royal residence

One of the most ancient residences of the House of Savoy, the imposing Castle of Moncalieri overlooks the Po River near Turin. Built in the Middle Ages for defence purposes, the House of Savoy turned it into a “place of delights” after many embellishments and enlargements. Beloved by the women of the House of Savoy, like Queen Maria Adelaide and Princesses Clotilde and Letizia, not only was the castle a place to stay, but also the place where the young princes were brought up, and was the scene of crucial historic events (in 1849, Vittorio Emanuele II signed the famous Moncalieri Proclamation in there). Family mementoes of the House of Savoy are still present all over the royal apartments. The castle is the headquarters of the Piedmontese First Regiment of the Carabinieri.


Moncalieri Castle, which rises dramatically on the hill to the south-east of Turin, is one of the oldest and largest Savoy residences that make up the “Crown of Delights”. The first nucleus was built in the 13th century for defensive purposes, while the two round towers now incorporated into the façade overlooking the town date back to the late 15th century. In the 17th century, it was transformed by Christine of France and her son Carlo Emanuele II into a recreational residence for the court. The C-shaped structure with its mighty corner towers opens up towards the hillside park behind, which covers an area of about five hectares.

It was at Moncalieri Castle that Vittorio Amedeo II was arrested in 1732 for attempting to revoke his abdication and return to power, and he died there shortly afterwards.

In around 1775, it was Vittorio Amedeo III who commissioned architect Francesco Martinez (Juvarra’s nephew) to extend the spaces and create new ones, such as the scenic Royal Chapel.

Between 1788 and 1789, the apartments on the first floor for the princes of Piedmont were refurbished by Leonardo Marini, while Giovanni Battista Piacenza and Carlo Randoni took care of those on the ground floor assigned to the dukes of Aosta.

The complex events of the 19th and 20th centuries marked the destiny of the residence. During the French occupation it became a military barracks and hospital, losing most of its fittings and furnishings. Once all traces of the presence of the troops had been wiped out, the Castle became inhabited again, beloved by the women of the House of Savoy, particularly Queen Maria Adelaide and Princesses Maria Clotilde and Maria Letizia. The apartment of the first king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, and his consort Maria Adelaide, with the spectacular Blue Drawing Room sumptuously furnished in neo-Baroque style, remains as an example of this late 19th century phase, designed by the architect Domenico Ferri in an eclectic French style.

At the end of the First World War, Vittorio Emanuele III relinquished some of the Crown’s castles to the State, including Moncalieri, where Princess Maria Letizia was granted permission to live until her death, which occurred on 25 October 1926. Two years later, the Recruiting School for Reserve Officers of the Turin Military Corps was inaugurated at the Castle. It became a Carabinieri barracks in 1945 and is now home to the 1st “Piedmont” Carabinieri Regiment.

In 2008, a fire, which broke out in the south-eastern tower, destroyed part of Vittorio Emanuele II’s apartment, included in the tour, causing severe damage and irreparable loss to Italy’s historical and cultural heritage, such as the room in which the king signed the Proclamation of Moncalieri on 20 November 1849, decisive for the future unification of Italy.

The complex restoration work, completed in 2017, restored these spaces to the public with an evocative layout that uses a system of panels and veils to show “in transparency” what they looked like before the damage.

Piazza Baden Baden, 4 – Moncalieri (TO)
+39 011 4992333


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