Turin’s art deco galleries
When you’re in Piedmont’s capital of Turin, you must be sure to visit the city’s wonderful shopping galleries.
They are ideal for the less-than-perfect weather in northern Italy, and maintain their original art deco charm.
The first gallery constructed in Turin was at the request of the Marquis Natta d’Alfano, and constructed by the architect Barnaba Panizza in 1856. The gallery bore the name of the Marquis. Sadly, Turin’s first gallery was demolished in 1930. Another gallery – constructed in 1888 – would also be destroyed when Via Roma was expanded.
Luckily, three spectacular galleries remain intact today.
The Subalpina Gallery is built in a beautiful 19th century style, and it houses one of Turin’s oldest cinemas (Cinema Romana) and cafes (Baratti e Milano).
Baratti e Milano, purveyors of delicious chocolates, should definitely not be missed on your visit here.
You’ll feel as if you’ve wandered back over a century when you walk into this spectacular cafe.
I love the spectacular San Federico Gallery, built in the 1930s. It is shaped like a T, with bright windows and spectacular marble. This was the first headquarters of the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
It also houses a cinema – Lux – which was originally called ‘Rex’ when it was inaugurated in 1934. It was Italy’s largest cinema, with 1573 seats (800 in the platea and 700 in the balcony).
In 1942, the cinema took the name ‘Dux’ in honor of il Duce – Mussolini. The name would change to ‘Lux’ after WWII. Today, only the spectacular art deco lobby remains, the grand space has been carved out into a multiplex, but don’t miss the spectacular art deco lobby decorations, with its back marble, bronze and sweeping public spaces.
The San Federico Gallery is my favorite, and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch here, with a good glass of local Barbera wine, enjoying the spectacular spaces and squinting my eyes to imagine it back in the 1930s.
The Umberto I Gallery rounds out the trio of galleries still existing in the Piedmont capital today. Don’t miss out on these art deco jewels when you’re next in Turin.
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