Turin is a treasure chest full of unique secret places that will always amaze you! To be honest, most of these gems are unknown to many locals too and are far too often disregarded... So today we are bringing you to the Turin's Artist Club or Circolo Degli Artisti.
|Circolo degli Artisti e Circolo dei Lettori (different floors)|
This is one of the oldest artist clubs in Italy founded in 1847 by a group of artists who wanted to meet regularly to contribute to the growth of literature and arts. Over the years, this club moved to different locations but when it reached 779 members in 1858, it moved to Via Bogino 9, in the 17the century Palazzo Granieri della Roccia that hosted it till 2018. Today, you can still enjoy an elegant lunch or dinner and visit the Club's library in the Circolo degli Artisti's old headquarters.
|Palazzo Carignano, first parliament of Italy|
Italy's very first PM, Count Benso di Cavour, also a club member supported this choice because it was very close to his office and the very first Italian parliament - Palazzo Carignano. Among the many famous members of this Club, you can find a long list of Italian intellectuals and politicians that gave birth to Italian nation, as well as royals, naturally artists and modern celebrities.
Back in the days, especially during the Carnival season, in January and February, this Club's rich calendar of events was almost the 'Coachella of Turin'. The art exhibits, the celebrities who took part of balls and many events organized in Via Bogino 9 brought over to Turin people like Walt Disney, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (the father of Italian Futurism) and French sculpture Auguste Rodin.
You can actually still read about these events in the historical magazines collected in the Club library that hosts over 11,000 books.
Straight back from Japan, even Antonio Fontanesi, a famous Italian artist was invited to exhibit even if he wasn't a member and yet the works his favorite students are all part of the Club's collection.
|to the Circolo degli Artisti|
In 1890, the architecture section organized the very first "International Exhibit of Architecture" right at the Artist Club and in 1902 the First International Exhibit of Decorative Art took place in Turin.
In 1896, the Eridano Rowing Club (Turin is crossed by the Po River, the longest river in Italy) merged with the Artist Club to offer even more events and opportunities to their members.
|at the restaurant of the Artist Club you are in a living museum|
These Club events went down in history as majestic and fantastic. A couple of the most memorable ones were the Bogorama and the Magic Lantern.
Bogorama was organized to celebrate the inauguration of the Suez Canal, during the 1870 Carnival season: on the Club's façade they painted a huge sphinx head. By walking through its open mouth, people could reach the room where the images of a fictitious travel from Bardonecchia (up in the Piedmont Alps near France) to Egypt were projected with the comments of a club member and live music in the background.
The Magic Lantern was a tent placed in Piazza Castello for the 1880 Carnival season. This tent acted as a magic lantern thanks to the images painted on glass and lit up from the back, just like those you can see in our National Cinema Museum hosted in our Mole Antonelliana (tallest building in Europe).
In 1959, Gian Battista 'Pinin' Farina, president of the Circolo degli Artisti and one of the fathers of Italian car design brought over to Turin the masters of Japanese art.
Just like in the past, today Circolo degli Artisti keeps honoring its traditions and promoting arts and culture. In the summer 2018 exhibits, archives and events moved to the new headquarters of the Club in the Royal Gardens, in Corso San Maurizio 6 at the corner with Via Rossini. On the River Po, at the Eridano Rowing Club, you'll also find the Club's sport events besides the art ones.
|risotto from ristorante del Circolo degli Artisti|
But it is still in Via Bogino 9, in its historical headquarters, where you can still eat at the same restaurant where the artists used to eat and paid with their works back in the 1800s and naturally, the historical library with its over 11,000 book collection is also still there.
Not bad for a city known to the world as the Italian MoTown and that even in 2023 has trouble shaking off its historical blue collar past to make way to its many new interests connected to the arts and technology 😎
|bunet à la Circolo degli Artisti|
E-mail Lucia: firstname.lastname@example.org
for your walking tour of Turin, tastings, private classes and concierge services available online too.