Palazzo Scaglia di Verrua and Dumas’s mademoiselle

“The night after, I reached Turin, where my mother-in-law, widow of the Count of Verrua, welcomed me from the top of the staircase in her palazzo. […] That vast, immense, obscure house, with its marble floors and staircases, froze my heart. Servants walked ahead of us with torches, which lit up the surrounding space but left the immense galleries that truly scared me buried in the shadows…”

Alexandre Dumas’s description of Palazzo Scaglia di Verrua, in downtown Turin, is part of his historical novel “La Dame de Volupté: Memoir of Mademoiselle de Luynes”, in which he wrote about the love story between noblewoman Jeanne Baptiste de Luynes, who lived in the beautiful Renaissance building in the first half of the 18th century, and Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy.

The words of the French author were meant to express his character’s deep psychological unrest, and cannot give justice to the Palazzo’s beautiful late-1500s century structure or the fine frescoes painted by Antonio Parentani, a Lombard artist we know very little about, on both the outer façade and inner courtyard.

Palazzo Scaglia Verrua is a unique gem in Turin’s historical architecture: its original Renaissance structure has remained unchanged – except for the porticoes added to the courtyard in the 1800s – to this day, making it the sole building from its age to escape subsequent reworks.

Today, Palazzo Scaglia di Verrua is home to the Viastampatori boutique hotel.

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January 7, 2019