June 25, 2010
Castello di Rivoli (2)
Castello di Rivoli (3)
In 1693, during the war against the French, the castle was set on fire by Marshal Catinat's troops and was partially destroyed. The great palace that Filippo Juvarra planned for Vittorio Amedeo II was meant to restore the residence in Rivoli to its former dignity and add a grandeur which would rival the magnificence of the great European courts. The project, which dates from 1718, was never completed and construction was halted one third of the way through; the parts most representative of the royal palace like the atrium and the great staircases were left unfinished. The interruption of the construction luckily prevented the Manica Lunga from being torn down so that today we can still see the work carried out in the 1600s. Juvarra's sketches and drawings fully illustrate the palace's architectural conception, reproduced in the great paintings of Giovanni Paolo Pannini and the impressive wood model constructed by Carlo Maria Uglieno. In 1793 Carlo Emanuele III of Savoia commissioned Carlo Randoni to complete the Juvarra design. Randoni did carry out some work on the castle but the occupation by Napoleon's troops at the end of the century put a halt to this attempt as well. A broken stump is all that remains of Juvarra's grand plans, separated from the Manica Lunga by the atrium where the unfinished plinths betray the moment construction was ceased.
At the beginning of the 19th century with the changing of the political situation after the period of French domination, the residence in Rivoli, without even its central part constructed, became a great burden for the Savoia family to sustain. It suffered the fate of the great Savoia properties, split up or turned over to the state so that the high costs of upkeep would not have to be paid out of the royal coffers. In 1860 the complex was rented to the community of Rivoli which quartered an infantry battalion there and built a covered passage from the castle to the Manica Lunga. The community purchased the entire property at a price of 100,000 lira.