Castle of Rivoli

The Castle of Rivoli is a former Residence of the Royal House of Savoy in Rivoli (Metropolitan City of Turin, Italy). It is currently home to the Castello di Rivoli – Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, the museum of contemporary art of Turin.

Castle of Rivoli
Castello di Rivoli
The castle's unfinished façade
General information
Town or cityRivoli
Inscription1997 (21st Session)


The castle was probably built in the 9th–10th centuries. Its existence is mentioned for the first time in 1159, in a diploma by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa that ceded the Rivolese territories to the bishops of Turin.

The House of Savoy acquired Rivoli in the 11th century. Soon afterward, a feud began with the bishops, which in 1184 resulted in damage to the castle. In 1273 King Edward I of England visited, en route from Crusade to England, he was met by the Count of Savoy’s messengers before travelling on to Susa and the Mont Cenis on the way to visit Count Philip I at Saint-Georges-d'Espéranche. In 1330 Amadeus VI of Savoy allowed the Consiglio dei Principi, senior administrative council of the countryside to occupy it. The castle was the first place of public veneration of the Shroud of Turin.

The castle then experienced a period of decline. In 1559, the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis forbade the Duke Emmanuel Philibert from residing in Turin until he had a male child. He therefore resided in the Castle of Rivoli, having it restored by architect Ascanio Vitozzi. In 1562 heir Charles Emmanuel I was born, and he returned to Turin. Works on Vitozzi's designs were brought on until 1644 under Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, with the construction of the so-called Manica Lunga, intended to house the Savoy Gallery, the sole 17th-century part of the edifice still visible today. Numerous works of art were however stolen by French troops in the following years. New works began after 1706.

19th century onwards

Victor Amadeus II commissioned a new façade from Filippo Juvarra, which also went unfinished. After his abdication and failed attempt to regain power from his son Charles Emmanuel III, Victor Amadeus lived here as a prisoner with his morganatic spouse the Marchesa di Spigno. After his death, the castle remained mostly abandoned, until in 1863, when the comune of Rivoli turned it into barracks. Twenty years later a section was used as library.

The edifice was heavily damaged during World War II, and remained in a substantial state of abandon until 1979, when new works of restoration were begun. In 1984 the castle was reopened as the home of the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, the first contemporary art museum in Italy[1]. In 2000, the castle also became home to a Michelin-starred restaurant when chef Davide Scabin moved his restaurant Combal there renaming it Combal.Zero. [2][3]

Renovation projects

The first post-WW2 renovation works were carried out under the Turin architect Andrea Bruno. Unfortunately, the initiative was not completed, available funding being enough only repair of structural damage. In 1967, Bruno proceeded to break down the decaying parts of the atrium, built at the beginning of 900.[4]

The palace is the setting for the play King Victor and King Charles by Robert Browning.


  1. "Our Mission". Castello di Rivoli (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  2. Bruni, Frank. "Cucina dell'Arte: High-End Dining in Italy". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  3. "Combal Zero". Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  4. "Renovation". Retrieved 14 November 2016.

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