This is the oldest and best-known museum of History of the Nation, the only one to be truly significant at a national level for the relevance, wealth and breath of its collections.
In the last two centuries the Risorgimento was seen as history that had come from afar. Busts of great Italians of the past, the statue of the mother goddess, the standards of many cities, in the entrance hall relics of Vittorio Emanuele II the first King of Italy.
The representations of the Risorgimento begin with the exhibitions of Turin of 1884, 1898 and 1911, and in the Mole Antonelliana, the first home to the museum in 1908. The symbol of the room is the trophy donated by the Italian municipalities to the city of Turin in 1884.
The faithful reconstruction of a room of the Museum of the Risorgimento transferred to Palazzo Carignano in 1938. The House of Savoy was predominant, in its history, military power, and national mission, tracing the beginning of the process of the reunification of Italy back to the battle of Turin of 1706.
The symbol is the liberty tree, at the centre of the room. The dominant bright colour evokes the birth of a new world with the French revolution. The legitimacy of the exercise of power is transferred from the absolute monarchy to the nation and thus to representative governments elected by the people.
In the meantime, the British industrial revolution set a new system of production in motion. The revolutionary principles exploded in Italy with the French armies.
The revolutionary three years in Italy is reflected in the room’s predominant red. The room’s symbols are the bonnet rouge and the young general Bonaparte.
The exhibition presents the republics in Piedmont and Liguria, and the Cispadane, Cisalpine, Roman and Neapolitan republics. It continues with the offensive by the counter-revolutionaries and ends with the Napoleonic reconquest.
This is the room that bears witness to the two most significant experiences of Napoleonic Italy, the Republic of Italy then the Kingdom of Italy in the north, and the French decade in the Kingdom of Naples.
After annexation by France, Piedmont also saw changes and innovations brought by Napoleon, as he considered Italy only as a land to be plundered of men and wealth.
The gold recalls the glory of the French Empire, which brought a profound reorganisation of society and the state and was to inspire the 19th century bourgeoisie.
The room also recalls conflicts, adversaries, rebellions and national upheavals. Napoleon and the Empire collapsed in 1814. He escaped from exile on Elba in 1815 and returned to France, where he met his final defeat.
The cold colour of the age of the Restoration envelops two contrasting symbols, the solemn return of Vittorio Emanuele I to Turin and the small portrait of the romantic conspirator. The denial of the aspirations for freedom, widespread in the previous era, were met in Europe by responses from the secret societies and the revolutionary upheavals of the twenties.
This room illustrates the repression of political dissent in the age of the Restoration, with the reconstruction of Silvio Pellico’s cell at Spielberg. Around the opening of the cell, the figures of other carbonari from Lombardy and Veneto arrested in 1820 are evoked. as is the extraordinary popularity of Le mie prigioni.
The room develops around two hubs. One is European, with films that illustrate the cultural roots and the political and nationalist struggles in various countries up to the revolutions of 1830.
The other is Italian, dedicated to the democratic movement whose symbol is Giuseppe Mazzini.
This room illustrates the moderate/reforming alternative to Mazzini’s action seen in the previous room. It is dedicated to the growth of the liberal movement in Italy and especially in Piedmont, above all between1846 and1848. The room’s blue evokes the dominant colour of the Piedmontese moderates’ symbols of the period.
This is the room of the constitutions granted in 1848, in particular the Albertine Statute.
The walls are Savoy blue.
In particular we find the bust of Carlo Alberto and the original of the score of “Canto degli italiani”, then to become “Fratelli di'Italia”, put to music by Michele Novaro to the lyrics of Mazzinian Goffredo Mameli, amidst the enthusiastic atmosphere for reforms in November 1847.
The revolutions of 1848 and 1849 are illustrated from Italian and European standpoints. The Austrian printing press is the symbol, recalling the freedom of the press.
The items illustrate a journey through the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, Poland, the Ottoman Empire and, in Italy, the Five Days of Milan and other insurrections, and the Republics of Venice and Rome.
This is an Italian-Piedmontese room that tells the tale of the first war of independence in 1848/49.
Here the military aspect dominates from the Piedmontese and Austrian points of view.
The exhibition also illustrates the presence of Italian volunteers and contingents from other countries alongside the Savoy army.
This room contains the original furniture and the faithful reconstruction of the room in which Carlo Alberto died in Porto in 1849.
Climbing onto the glass cube in which the chamber is displayed, one has an overview from above the Subalpine Chamber, which is not accessible to the public for conservation reasons.
Here we have the Subalpine Chamber of Deputies, a national monument since 1898. From a window, the balcony of Palazzo Carignano can be glimpsed from where on 13th March 1821 Carlo Alberto declared his acceptance of the Spanish constitution, which was then immediately repealed.
Audiovisual presentations and films on the theme of the Risorgimento are shown in this room.
The decade from 1849 to 1859 was characterised by the crisis of the old Italian regional states and the democratic movement. Piedmont asserted its hegemony in the leadership of the national movement.
Symbolically, the many threads that form the three-coloured fabric woven by the loom at the centre of the room evoke the patriotic action of a multitude of elements from many origins.
The first steps are taken to internationalise the Italian question, inserting it into French and British power politics.
The Crimean War was the first European conflict after Napoleon I and is the dominant theme of this room, which illustrates the Piedmontese participation and the other countries involved.
The Italian question shifts from the roar of the battlefield to the soft carpets of diplomacy. The leading player on the European chessboard was Cavour, from the Congress of Paris to the meeting in Plombières. His diplomatic carriage contrasts strongly with Garibaldi’s horse, which we will find in room 22.
The three year period of 1859-1861 was to lead to the constitution of the new Kingdom of Italy, whose journey continues in the next two rooms. The red evokes both a new phase and the blood of the 1859 war against the Austrians. The war was followed by the insurrections in central Italy, the plebiscites and the annexations to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The room illustrates the point of view of all the forces in play.
In a setting dominated by the colour green, evoking the origins of conspiracies with many participants, Garibaldi on horseback symbolises the legend of the condottiero and recalls the enormous popularity of the enterprise of the Mille. The expedition, with the renewal of the popular initiative of the democrats, is illustrated from the moment of the embarkation at Quarto up to the hero’s voluntary retirement to Caprera.
The victory of Garibaldi’s men was neutralised and exploited by the Cavourian moderates to their own advantage, unexpectedly converted to a unification programme extended to the entire peninsula. The military expedition in central and southern Italy, led personally by Vittorio Emanuele II, led to the annexation of these territories.
Room 24 illustrates the difficulty in completing Italian unity, in the period between the proclamation of the kingdom on 17th March 1861 and the taking of Rome of 20th September 1870. After the death of Cavour, the Kingdom of Italy had to tackle varied and complex interwoven problems, such as the Roman and Venetian question, the war of 1866, the financial deficit and banditry. The defeat of the French by the Prussians finally made it possible to take Rome.
The exhibition of Cavour’s ministerial study is made up of original pieces of furniture and personal effects belonging to the statesman. Added later were the minister’s uniform worn at the Conference of Paris, the death mask, the allegory of Italy, and the model of the statue.
This room is the transition between the events of the unification and the first fifty years of the Kingdom of Italy. On display are portraits of politicians, artists, scientists and the anonymous faces of the middle and working classes. The historical right-wing ruling class, the heirs of Cavour, was replaced in 1876 by the historical left, the bearer of broader interests and a less elite vision of politics.
This display begins from a European perspective, with objects and films that illustrate German unification and the nationalist movements in the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, in the Baltic area and in Poland. It continues with the representation of bourgeois society in Italy between 1870 and 1915, in everyday life, in its mentality, in exhibitions, technological innovations, in the optimism of the belle époque, and also in its institutions and political life.
In parallel to the previous room, this one illustrates the first fifty years of the Kingdom of Italy from the viewpoint of the working classes. The room has two symbols. One is the carriage used by Garibaldi, now an old man, no longer engaged in military adventures but in civil battles. The other is constituted by the workers’ flags, whose entry into political life represents a milestone in Italian history.
The European dimension is once again dominant.
The grey of the walls echoes the feeling of uncertainty for the future faced with the imminent First World War, and the awareness, even then, that an era was coming to an end.
The Turkish-Italian war of 1911-12 accelerated the crisis of the Turkish Empire and was one of the causes that triggered the world war.
We are in the chamber that was to host the new Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy, completed but never used due to the transfer of the capital from Turin to Florence, and then Rome. Given its grandiose and solemn air, it lends itself to hosting the large canvases depicting the military exploits from 1848 to 1860, both those of the Savoy army and of Garibaldi’s volunteers.
The "Sala Codici", with vaulted frescos by Francesco Gonin, takes its name from the painting Promulgazione del Codice civile albertino by Giovanni Battista Biscarra.
The "Sala Plebisciti", with vaulted allegorical frescos, takes its name from the painting by Angelo Capisani Bettino Ricasoli presenta il plebiscito toscano a Vittorio Emanuele II.
The Corridor was originally used as a passageway for the "Deputies", the Members of the Chamber. It overlooks the backyard of Palazzo Carignano and it faces the Camera dei Deputati Subalpina.

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