Turin’s most central square, dating back to the 14th century, it takes it’s name 'castello' from the 'Palazzo Madama' an ancient castle located in the square itself.
Over the centuries it has been the backdrop for countless significant historical, political and civic events. Today, as well as the historic landmarks, the square is lined with theatres, cafes, restaurants, bars and shops and bustles with activity day and night. The city's nucleus, major roads via Po, via Roma and via Pietro Micca all originate here.
Two restored Roman towers dating back to 100 BC form part of Palazzo Madama, which later would become the first senate in Italy. Enlarged to a castle-like structure by a branch of the House of Savoy in the early 14th century, they later went on to demolish the surrounding buildings, and the Piazza Castello began to take shape.
The busiest phase in developing the square and the buildings enclosing it was the 16th - 18th centuries. Porticoed buildings line the western perimeter, redesigned extensively by Ascanio Vittozzi. Architects Amedeo di Castellamonte and Filippo Juvarra played their parts too, the latter redesigning the castle’s façade in a Baroque style (completed in 1721) under the instruction of Marie Jeanne of Savoy, who was known as 'Madama Reale', and for whom the building is named. The Palazzo Madama now hosts the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica.
Found in and around the square are major opera house Teatro Regio, the Armeria Reale (one of the world’s most important collections of armoury amassed by the Savoy family), Palazzo Reale (the royal palace built for Carlo Emanuele II in the mid-1600s including the Royal Gardens), via Po (an elegant arcaded street connecting the square to the river) and nearby the church of San Lorenzo. Take a break from sightseeing and indulge in a yummy ice cream or dessert at Gelateria Abela (Piazza Castello, n. 70).
Piazza Castello, Turin