Turin’s Medieval Village and Castle: solid dream
One of the consultants who worked on creating Turin’s Medieval Village and Castle was Piedmontese writer and playwright Giuseppe Giacosa, who among other things was the librettist of Puccini’s operas “La Bohème”, “Tosca” and “Madama Butterfly”.
Giacosa (1847-1906) put his vast culture at the service of the impressive project carried out in 1884, under the supervision of Portuguese architect Alfredo d’Andrade, inside Valentino Park. The medieval replica was a pavilion for the International Exhibition held in the same year, and was supposed to be demolished after the event. Instead, it was turned into a city museum in 1942.
Giacosa had a passion for the Middle Ages, and set his 1873 “A Game of Chess” (or “The Wager”) in that time. In the prologue to the play in Martellian verse, Giacosa describes castles with corroded, crumbled walls climbed by ivy; decapitated towers whose merlons have fallen to the ground; ruined frescoes in huge rooms, with giant fireplaces now full of ruins; screeching birds, grotesque yet stronger and more solid than the castle itself.
The melancholic poet could never have imagine that in Turin, this project inspired by the dilapidated castles and churches in Piedmont and the Aosta Valley would still be standing, over a century later.