EGYPTIAN MUSEUM, PALACE

Audio File length: 2.29
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Before you begin your tour of the Egyptian Museum's collections, I suggest observing the magnificent Baroque building that houses it.

The museum is housed in the Academy of Sciences Palace, which was built in the second half of the 1600s by one of the most creative and innovative architects of Piedmont-style Baroque, Guarino Guarini. He is also responsible for other jewels including the Chapel of the Shroud of Turin in the Cathedral, the Church of San Lorenzo, and Carignano Palace.

The great and austere brick building you stand before was built as a college run by Jesuits and reserved for the descendants of the Piedmontese aristocracy. It has a horseshoe-shaped form and covers more than 60 thousand square meters. In the original design, the architect had even planned for a direct link to Piazza Castello through a system of underground passages, which however were never created.

The fact that the palace was designed to be an educational institution is quite clear if you take in its compact, stern appearance: when at college, the young noblemen were to focus only on studying and following the lessons taught by the Jesuits, a religious order that highly valued discipline and study. The façade has a very simple, regular structure, even if you might notice that the terracotta decoration is quite refined. The balcony above the large door is not part of the original building, but was added in the 1800s.

The architect put his best work into the internal staircase, which was restored in 2011 along with the rest of the building and the museum. So I suggest skipping the elevator and using this incredible staircase, and while you're there visit the historic rooms of the Academy, including the Globe Room where the College's theater once stood. This room owes its name to two precious globes from the seventeenth century, which are the work of a great Venetian cartographer.

 

FUN FACT: in 2013 the distinguished newspaper "The Times" published a ranking that included the Egyptian Museum as one of the fifty most beautiful museums in the world!

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