Teatro Regio & Carlo Mollino

    Turin is a city of unique grace and elegance.

    Exquisite 16th and 17th-century architecture, driving comparison to the streets of Vienna or Paris, enhances the city's rich cultural heritage. Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, the awe-inspiring wonder of 22 palaces and villas, safeguarded as a UNESCO World Heritage site, or Palazzo Madama, blending styles, yet simple in its beauty, are splendid reminders of the Piedmontese capital's glorious past.

    However, it is the Teatro Regio, a magnificent tribute to Turin's rich heritage and past, that continues to inspire all who experience its grandeur. As the city's main opera house, the building has served its purpose since the 18th century, and today, it stands as a proud testament to Turin's unwavering devotion to the arts.

    Turin: A Cultural Gem

    During the Italian Risorgimento in the 19th Century, Turin became the political and intellectual centre of Italy's unification, earning the title "the cradle of Italian liberty" and serving as the first capital of the unified Italy (the Kingdom of Italy).

    This city's diverse and sometimes turbulent history has shaped it into a cultural and commercial centre that seamlessly blends the ancient with the modern. Sitting right beneath the towering Alps, modern Turin emanates quiet beauty that never ceases to amaze: a place where you can get a glimpse of the finest Italian culture and witness the city's enduring spirit.

    Teatro Regio: A Jewel in Turin's Crown

    Teatro Regio, or the Royal Theatre of Turin, is one of the world's oldest still-serving opera houses: a glamorous creation of the Savoy Court, the theatre opened its doors for the first time in 1740. A fire led to the partial destruction of the original building, prompting a (national) competition for a new theatre design in 1936.

    The realisation of the initial winning project was interrupted by the outbreak of the war, and it was almost 30 years later when architect Carlo Mollino was awarded the project alongside engineer Marcello Zavelani Rossi. The exceptional effect of their collaboration brings pride to the Torinese up to this day and constitutes one of the greatest achievements in Turin's rich array of architectural masterpieces. 

    The final work of Mollino is an exquisite composition, flawlessly merging with Alfieri's surviving austere façade - a masterpiece of neoclassical design. Characterised by its harmonious proportions, elegant symmetry, and intricate detailing, the facade is crowned with Corinthian columns that support the entablature above, giving the building a sense of verticality and grandeur, as the finest example of neoclassical beauty. 

    The facade leads to the monumental grand entrance, supported on both sides by the columns and welcoming patrons into a world of artistic wonder in style. The original frontal construction underwent significant renovations in the 19th century, resulting in the majestic structure we see today.

    Carlo Mollino's Influence on Teatro Regio

    Mollino became renowned as a visionary architect and designer whose innovative and unconventional ideas have had a lasting impact on the design and architecture far outside of Turin. His artistic interests reached beyond architecture, including furniture design, photography, and aeronautics.

    Mollino was extremely careful in his approach to the arduous task of designing the new Teatro Regio, blending the existing parts with new carefully crafted elements. His efforts resulted in a clever combination of the auditorium and the surviving 1740 wing through symmetrical glazed connecting walkways.

    By using the curved line as a constant motif throughout the exterior and interior of the new structure, Mollino created an overpowering feeling of stylistic harmony. His virtuosity and precision show in every detail of the luxury foyer, boasting bright red and gold facades with geometric designs on the staircases and walkways.

    The auditorium, lit up by the infinite array of glass 'icicles', features bright red seats and cream-coloured boxes. The well-preserved interiors continue to impress and delight visitors, serving as a point of pride for celebrating prestigious moments in the city's life.

    Legacy and beyond

    Torinese-born Carlo Mollino was appreciated as a highly innovative and unconventional artist, often blending elements of various architectural styles and incorporating avant-garde ideas into his designs. Breaking with the contemporary mass-production approach, Mollino decided to pursue singularity in form, and this philosophy led him to become one of the most prolific and celebrated Italian architects and designers of the 20th century.

    Museo Casa Mollino, the architect's former apartment on the first floor of Villa Avondo, frequently attracts locals, artists and visitors alike. It showcases the original furniture, designed and handpicked by the renowned designer. The interiors have been arranged to replicate the original settings, providing an up-close and personal insight into Mollino's professional and creative vision, whose work left an indelible mark on Turin's cultural scene.

    Turin's rich and challenging history has shaped it into a city that cherishes its cultural heritage, evident in its exquisite architecture, such as the iconic Teatro Regio, and the influence of Carlo Mollino can be seen to this day in many of Turin's buildings and landmarks.

    While glorifying its rich history, Turin is a city aiming for the future. The Torinese’s commitment to preserving their historical treasures while embracing modernity is a testament to their forward-thinking attitude and the embodiment of Italian culture that values timelessness and artistic tradition.


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