Between 1600 and 1675 the royal Dukes of Savoy, together with the architects Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, transformed Turin from a small city, still defined by the Roman castrum, into the rationally planned capital of an absolutist state. This transformation, sustained by the dynastic ambitions of four successive rulers (Carlo Emanuele I, Vittorio Amedeo I, the regent Cristina, and Carlo Emanuele II), inherited the geometrical forms of Renaissance ideal-city planning, and expressed the values of the dominant military culture. Collected, dated, and combined into a coherent narrative, the autograph plans of 17th-century Turin show the unity and persistence of the royal vision. The two great expansions of the city, one to the south begun in 1619 and the other to the east in 1673, are revealed as stages of a single conception, already visible in an important plan of c. 1615 drawn by Duke Carlo Emanuele I. This conception represents a striking advance over the geometrically regular but impractical ideal-city plans proposed in the late 16th century, reconciling civic magnificence with military display and creating an effect of monumentality in the urban setting. Although parts of this plan were initially scaled down, or held back by the difficult circumstances of the 1630s and 1640s, it was never essentially modified and remained the model for subsequent developments.
- Copyright 1988 The Society of Architectural Historians