Turin’s Royal Armory
The Royal Armory of Turin was founded when in the 1830s Charles Albert (1798-1849), king of Sardinia, began collecting weapons belonging to the Savoy in the Beaumont gallery, which until then had housed the large paintings moved to the Royal Picture Gallery.
What was then known as the “Antique and Modern Armory” was organized by its first director Vittorio Seyssel D’Aix, a captain in the artillery, and inaugurated in 1837 after collecting pieces from the Turin or Genoa arsenals, and from the Museum of Antiquities; later, pieces were purchased on the antiques market and entire collections were acquired – such as the one belonging to Milanese set designer Alessandro Sanquirico, and another from Brescia’s Martinengo della Fabbrica family.
In the following years, the Armory took over the Rotonda – a space designed by Pelagio Palagi – in order to showcase a collection of oriental weapons and Charles Albert’s and Victor Emmanuel II’s personal collections.
Today, the Armory is home to over 5,000 items ranging from prehistory to the early 1900s, as well as to Charles Albert’s coin collection and a selection of his antiques and most valuable possessions. One of the most outstanding parts of the gallery, to this day, is the section dedicated to 16th-century weapons and armors.