Monday, May 13, 2013

Palazzo Madama

Our field trip today was the Palazzo Madama. It was one of the many Savoy palaces here in Torino and now houses the 'antique' (pre-1800) art collections. There was a great collection of golden altarpieces 1200's-1400's and gobs of early renaissance religious paintings. (Hailey kept noticing saints holding lambs in their palms and now she wants a 'hand-sheep'!) The top floor was like a fancy butler's pantry - platters, bowls, candelabras, too many sets of patterned and painted china. And there were 'treasure towers' filled with lots of the goodies and oddities given by visiting royalty & dignitaries. The middle level was the best - mostly the restored palace rooms - High Baroque style in all it's glory.
Glass, mirrors, gold, naked gods and cherubs, sculptures, fabric covered walls and painted and gilded ceilings that would put a Faberge egg to shame.
The kids and I really enjoyed the medieval garden that has been created in the former moat. Griffin spent lots of time watering plants with a terra cotta contraption ( which, sadly, they did not sell in the gift shop). There was a great 'treehouse' chicken coop and lots of wicker - which I envied.

Most notable about the Madama is that it looks like two completely different palaces stuck back to back. The original building was Roman and a fortress which was later added to in the middle ages to become a full-on castle. The Savoys built on again, but this time made the 'back' into a elegant palace. Kinda weird but cool.

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