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Photos by Michele GIannone and Lucia Ranieri

Piazza Solferino is located in the historic center between Via Cernaia, Via Pietro Micca, and the beginning of Corso Re Umberto. It is named after the municipality in the province of Mantua. Here, in 1859, the Piedmontese troops achieved an important victory against the Austrians during the Second Italian War of Independence.

Piazza Solferino is a narrow and long square located in the historic center of Turin. It was once known as the wood market square due to the typical market held there. Until the opening of Via Pietro Micca, it was a peripheral square. Surrounded by simple buildings dedicated to the care of gardens and orchards. The current redevelopment took place in 1853, coinciding with the construction of Via Pietro Micca, thanks to a project by Carlo Promis. Later, in 1870, central flower beds were installed.

The square

In 1859, the Teatro Alfieri was completed. It is one of the oldest theaters in Turin that is still in operation. Unfortunately, it has faced several misfortunes. The theater’s history was marked by multiple fires.

Destroyed even before its official inauguration in 1858, it was swiftly rebuilt. It suffered additional fires in 1863, 1868, and 1927. Finally, during World War II, it was completely destroyed but reconstructed once again, following the original designs by Barnaba Panizza.

Piazza Solferino
Piazza Solferino. Statue of Ferdinand of Savoy (by Michele Giannone)

The monument to Ferdinando di Savoia, Duke of Genoa, was installed in 1877. He is depicted on horseback, wounded during the Battle of Bicocca (Novara 1849) in the context of the First War of Independence. Additionally, in 1884, a statue of Giuseppe La Farina, a patriot of Italian unification, was added.

The Fontana Angelica was instead inaugurated in 1930, designed by Giovanni Riva. Commissioned by Pietro Bajnotti in memory of his parents, it was originally intended to be installed in front of the Cathedral.

However, it was later decided to place it in Piazza Solferino, perhaps due to the many mysterious meanings within the artwork.

The fountain is particularly interesting because of its connection to esotericism and Freemasonry. Its sculptures and details contain hidden elements that allude to occult and mysterious arts.

It’s definitely a must-see stop on a magical tour of Turin.

Piazza Solferino
Piazza Solferino. The Fontana Angelica (by Lucia Ranieri)

Buildings on Piazza Solferino

Several relevant buildings overlook the square.

  • Palazzo Ceriana: Located at the corner of Via Arcivescovado, it was built in 1870 by Carlo Ceppi for the Ceriana family.
  • Palazzo Generali Venezia: Situated between Via Cernaia and Via Botero, this Liberty-style building was designed by Pietro Fenoglio and constructed in 1907.
  • However, the most interesting is likely Palazzo Fiorina, at the beginning of Via Pietro Micca. Also built by Carlo Ceppi in 1860, it features Liberty and Baroque decorations. On the ground floor, you’ll find the historic Bar Norman (formerly Birreria Voigt), where the Torino Football Club was founded in 1906.
Piazza Solferino (by Michele Giannone)
  • In 1950, the Torre Solferino (also known as Casa Alta) was erected between Via Pietro Micca and Via Santa Teresa, replacing a previous building destroyed during World War II bombings.
  • After restoration work in 2013, two modern artworks were installed: Lucio Morra’s sundial and a bronze face by Mexican artist Javier Marin.
  • Lastly, don’t forget Piazza Solferino No. 20, which was the home of Piergiorgio Frassati and the original headquarters of the newspaper La Stampa.