Turin’s new Museum of Oriental Art

The blog has taken a backseat for the past week or so because I’ve been battling away at a catalogue for the reopening of Turin’s new Museum of Oriental Art.

palazzo-mazzonis1This is the beautiful Palazzo Mazzonis in the heart of Turin.  It was built in the 17th century by the aristocratic house of Solaro and Govone.

Apparently, the idea that Jean-Jacques Rousseau worked there in 1728-1731 as a valet to the Count de Gauvon, Master of the House to the Queen, and Chief of the House of Solar is merely a colourful detail added to his Confessions.

It is also reputed to have been used by Josephine Bonaparte while she lived in Turin.

In the early 20th century the building then became a textile factory, owned by the Mazzonis family, before being used by the City Council’s legal department from 1982 until 2001.

The MAO [sic!] project was launched on 26 July 2002 and Palazzo Mazzonis was chosen as the venue.

After the work of restoring the vast building, a project for the new museum was drawn up by the architect Andrea Bruno (who also worked on the Modern Art Museum at Castello di Rivoli).

Here is another video link about the new Museum (unfortunately this is only in Italian but it gives some good views of the building).  The man talking is Franco Ricca, the Museum’s Director.

On another site I found a rather chilling reminder of damage to Turin during the Second World War. This bomb was apparently dropped by the British but did not explode!


The Museum opens on Friday 5 December.  The clients I work for have told me that Turin has been very cold for the past week or so, so here is a picture of the beautiful square in front of Palazzo Madama under snow (taken on 28 November).  I hope to get a copy of the catalogue at some point – although it might be best to go and pick it up myself!


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