Trails to discover the Liberty style in Turin and in Piedmont

The stylistic elements of the Liberty style, which are inspired by the sinuous lines of nature and symbolize progress and the vitality of a new era, became widespread in the Regno d’Italia during the years of economic and industrial development after the Italian unification. These elements adorned new residential neighborhoods which were built for the emerging middle class.

This scenic and decorative style was used to adorn industrial buildings and palaces for wealthy people and arrived in Turin and in Piedmont in 1902, during the First International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts, held at the Valentino Park. Nowadays, walking through the elegant public and private buildings is the best way to discover the way the “Art Nouveau” fits in the Baroque-style city. In this way, you can also admire the signs and shop windows of cafés and shops, designed by architects such as Raimondo d’Aronco,
Pietro Fenoglio, Carlo Ceppi, Vandone di Cortemilia, Annibale Rigotti and Giovan Battista Carrera. So, it comes as no surprise that, since the beginning of the XX century, Torino has been considered the Italian capital of the Liberty style, thanks to these elegant masterpieces which extend radially from the center to the hill.

In the city center, you can admire the splendid interior of the historic Caffè Baratti e Milano (which was renovated in 1909), characterized by a pattern of plant-like decorations, stuccoes and inlays, with airy windows overlooking the Galleria dell’Industria Subalpina, designed by the architect Pietro Carrera in 1873. Within easy reach of this gallery you can find the Caffè Mulassano, another beautiful historic café decorated with paneling, mirrors and bronze friezes, with a coffered ceiling made of wood and leather. A
dense group of Liberty-style buildings surrounds the Porta Nuova railway station, among which there are Palazzo Priotti, Palazzo Debernardis and Palazzo Lattes, while closer to Piazza Statuto square you can find Casa Florio and Palazzo Bellia. Between the neighborhoods Cit Turin and San Donato, you can find Casa Fenoglio – Lafleur, designed in 1902 by the architect Fenoglio to use it as his personal home-studio; this historic building is an authentic symbol of the Liberty style in Turin and it is located near Villino Raby and Casa della Vittoria, also called Casa Carrera by the name of its builder and owner who comes from Biella, or Casa dei Draghi, due to the two winged creatures located on both sides of the entrance door; then, you can also find the former Birrificio Bosio & Caratsch (the first Italian brewery, founded in 1845) and the former public baths Bagni Municipali up to the school Istituto Faà di Bruno. Among the Liberty-style buildings in the Crocetta neighborhood we can mention Palazzo Ceriana Mayneri (nowadays home to the press club Circolo della Stampa), Casa Maffei and Casa Avezzano. The Liberty style becomes more minimalist and sober when it is used to decorate municipal and industrial buildings such as rented houses and schools, warehouses and factories in historic neighborhoods like Aurora (former Officine Grandi Motori, former sphaeristerium and Torri Rivella) and San Paolo, with the former Lancia factory and the school Scuola Santorre di Santarosa. Between the Valentino park and the San Salvario neighborhood, there are some buildings characterized by Liberty-style elements: Casa Bioletti, Villa Javelli, the house with the door Portone del Melograno (designed by Fenoglio) and the former public baths Bagni Municipali, near the first Fiat factory inaugurated in 1900. At the end of the XIX century, when the increase in population caused an expansion of the city beyond the Po river, rented houses and houses for the middle class were built one close to the other, such as in Borgo Crimea, where you can find Villa Scott (film set of some scenes of the film Deep Red directed by Dario Argento), Villino Giuliano, Villino Foà-Levi, Casa Pasquetti and Casa Mussini.

The floral style, the middle class’ favorite, became widely used in funerary art, with important works of art such as the ones by masters from the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts in Turin, which can be admired in the city’s cemetery Cimitero Monumentale.