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Conservatory Web site: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi
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Piazza Bodoni, delimited by Via Mazzini, is located in the historic center of Turin. It was leveled on the remains of the ancient bastion in 1825. About ten years later, a significant portion of the square was designated as a market area, primarily for butchers. Remodeled in 1835 with the opening of the Giardino dei Ripari, today the square is entirely pedestrianized.

Piazza Bodoni: the history

Under the arcades on one side of the square stood the historic printing house of Giuseppe Pomba. On the external facade of the portico arches, Giuseppe Pomba installed medallions depicting the authors of the works he published. This ingenious form of advertising still gives the buildings a unique appearance today.

Starting in the 1860s, near Via San Francesco da Paola, a regular market was held within a structure dedicated to this purpose. Additionally, in the basement, there was a laundry area. Equipped with running water, it could accommodate over 200 washerwomen at a cost of 5 cents each. The structure remained active until the early years of the following century.

Piazza Bodoni
Piazza Bodoni

In 1928, the building was demolished, and the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory took its place.

In the early 1920s, the city provided public lighting for Piazza Bodoni.

Subsequently, Piazza Bodoni became the site of the first gatherings of the Fascists and, of course, the ensuing clashes with the Communists.

In more recent years, around 1970, construction work was carried out for the underground parking lot, which is still in use today.

Finally, the square became completely pedestrianized starting in 2002.

The La Marmora monument

Alfonso Ferrero della Marmora (also known as La Marmora) was a lieutenant general and army commander. He also held the position of Minister of War in various governments.

He was also the prefect of Naples, governor of Milan, and prime minister in Turin from 1864 to 1866.

Upon his death in Florence in 1878, Turin decided to erect a monument in his memory.

Piazza Bodoni
The La Marmora monument

Initially estimated to cost 200,000 lire, the actual proceeds from twelve years of fundraising amounted to only 73,639 lire. It was then that Tommaso La Marmora (the general’s nephew) proposed expediting the collection by supplementing the sum with his own capital.

He entrusted the work to Count Stanislao Grimaldi, who did not request any compensation. In 1886, Tommaso Lamarmora suggested placing the statue in Piazza Bodoni.

The statue was created in collaboration with the Ministry of War, which provided the bronze, and it was cast in 1891 at the Regio Arsenale in Turin.

On October 25, 1891, the statue was finally inaugurated. The monument to La Marmora is the only equestrian statue dedicated to a military and political figure.

Giambattista Bodoni

Giambattista Bodoni was born in Saluzzo in 1740 into a family of printers. He learned the profession from an early age and during his youth, he traveled to Rome multiple times to work in the Pontifical Printing House.

Giambattista Bodoni

Later, he was appointed as the director of the Royal Press in Parma, where he spent his entire life until his death in 1813.

Bodoni’s significance and fame as a typographer stem from his creation of new typefaces that bear his name.

The Bodoni typeface is characterized by high contrast between thick and thin lines, emphasizing vertical strokes. The result is a clean and elegant appearance, albeit somewhat cold.

Bodoni’s typeface quickly gained popularity, to the extent that during the era of lead type publishing, every producer had their own version of the Bodoni typeface.

Even today, the Bodoni typeface isn’t fully standardized; it exists as a family with subtle differences between versions.

The Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi

His many years in Parma led to his typographic style being widely used in the city. The province of Parma still employs the Bodoni typeface for billboards, shop signs, and street directions.

However, Giambattista Bodoni’s influence extends beyond typography. For instance, in 1806, he published an edition of the Oratio Dominica as a memorial to Pope Pius VII’s journey to Paris. The work contains the Lord’s Prayer translated into 155 languages, making it the most extensive catalog of typographic characters ever published.