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Piazza Castello is located in the center of the city. It can be considered the heart of Turin. It is where the main historic streets converge (via Roma, via Garibaldi, via Po, and via Pietro Micca).

Its origin dates back to the 1st century AD. The square has a typical Roman structure, protected by walls and equipped with gates for access to the city. During the Middle Ages, the Roman gate was renamed ‘Fibellona’, and the episcopal palace (which later became the Royal Palace) was built nearby. From there, one could access an ancient church that was eventually replaced by the current Turin Cathedral (Duomo di San Giovanni).

In 1276Guglielmo VII, the Marquess of Monferrato, constructed a fortified residence on the site of the old Roman structure. Later, Ludovico di Savoia-Acaja reinforced the area with towers, creating an actual castle. This is how the square got its name.

Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello

Piazza Castello with Vittozzi and Castellamonte

With the transfer of the state capital from Chambéry to Turin in 1563, the modernization of the city and the square began. In the small square in front of the episcopal palace, on October 7, 1578, Carlo Borromeo celebrated a solemn mass for the first exhibition of the Shroud (which was also transferred from Chambéry to Turin).

In 1583, Ascanio Vitozzi was tasked with redesigning the square’s structure, giving it its current form. He designed the two perimeter buildings of the square, adjacent to Via Dora Grossa (now Via Garibaldi), aligning them with the existing Chapel of the House of Savoy (now the Church of San Lorenzo).

The castle at the center of the square was connected to the Bishop’s Palace via an elevated corridor built in 1605.

Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello

After Vitozzi’s death, the work continued under the direction of Carlo di Castellamonte. He constructed the porticoes on the side of Via Nuova (now Via Roma) in 1619.

However, the spread of the plague and political issues delayed the implementation of the new layout. The project to build the Royal Palace in place of the episcopal palace only began in 1643. It was Cristina of France (Prima Madama Reale), mother of Carlo Emanuele II, who encouraged its construction.

Piazza Castello and Juvarra

With the arrival of architect Filippo Juvarra in Turin, the Second Madama Reale (Giovanna Battista di Savoia), wife of Carlo Emanuele II, planned a Baroque-style renovation of the Castle. However, only the main facade of the project was actually realized.

Juvarra also designed the buildings for the Archivio di Stato (State Archives) and the Armeria Reale (Royal Armory). The completion of the work was later carried out by Benedetto Alfieri, who was also involved in constructing the Teatro Regio, the prefecture offices, and the portico connecting Palazzo Reale to Via Po.

Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello

During the Napoleonic period, the connection between the Castle and Palazzo Reale was demolished, along with the wall that bordered the small royal square. The French even planned to completely demolish Palazzo Madama to create a larger square. It was Napoleon himself who intervened to prevent the destruction of the Castle.

Juvarra’s project was completed in 1842. Subsequently, in 1848, the two Dioscuri statues were added at the entrance.

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In the late 1800s, several significant changes occurred in Piazza Castello. In 1873, the Galleria Sabauda was opened, connecting Piazza Castello to Piazza Carlo Alberto. Between 1873 and 1897, Via Pietro Micca was also established, creating a diagonal thoroughfare across the historic center.

However, in the 1930s, the construction of the current Via Roma and the Torre Littoria (Lictor Tower) took place. Unfortunately, the tower’s architectural style does not harmonize well with the historical ambiance of the square. Due to its distinctive shape and the period of its construction, the tower is playfully nicknamed the ‘Finger of Mussolini.

The magical point of Turin

Let’s now carefully examine the gate that separates the square from the Royal Palace, built in 1840 by Pelagio Palagi. Specifically, at the main entrance, it is crowned by the twin statues of the Dioscuri.

In the center, between these imposing sculptures, according to esoteric experts, lies the boundary that separates two worlds: darkness reigns to the west, while light dominates to the east.

PIazza Castello – The Dioscuro

From this demarcation line, twelve mystical paths extend, each associated with a different zodiac sign, dividing the city into distinct areas. It is said that passing under the ancient portal, guarded by the Dioscuri, can purify the soul from the shadow that envelops it.

Continuing beyond the gate, you reach the Royal Gardens located behind the Royal Palace. Here stands the magnificent Fountain of the Tritons. According to mystery scholars, this fountain represents the pulsating heart of benevolent energy. Those who approach it with care can perceive its vital and regenerative force, which bestows vigor and vitality.