The "Museo Diffuso" in Via Garibaldi

Turin, city of art and culture, as seen through the churches in Via Garibaldi and the Royal Museums

Via Garibaldi, Turin’s oldest thoroughfare, is the ideal place from which to get a feel for the atmosphere in which Turin’s art has been enjoyed by patrons, artists and the public.
The “Museo Diffuso di via Garibaldi” is an enchanting itinerary that casts new light on the historic centre by reconnecting:

  • the capital’s “control zone” (which can now be visited as part of the Royal Museums system)
  • the cathedral complex, whose lower church hosts the Diocesan Museum
  • the churches of Via Dora Grossa, the city’s oldest and liveliest thoroughfare

Chiesa di San Lorenzo

Piazza Castello angolo via Palazzo di Città 4


Chiesa della Santissima Trinità

Via G. Garibaldi 6


Chiesa dei Santi Martiri

Via G. Garibaldi 25


Cappella dei Mercanti

Via G. Garibaldi 25


Chiesa della Misericordia

Via G. Barbaroux 41


Chiesa di Santa Chiara

Via delle Orfane 16


Musei Reali

Piazzetta Reale 1


Museo Diocesano

Piazza San Giovanni 4

“La Doragrossa, che quivi in Turrino è come dire il Corso a Roma, et è la più bella strada e dritta di questa Città” – Via Dora Grossa, which is the equivalent of the Corso in Rome, is the straightest and most beautiful street in this City” (Federico Zuccari, Passaggio per l’Italia)

Via Dora Grossa – now known as Via Garibaldi – has played a key role in the development of Turin’s layout ever since ancient times, as it was the decumanus maximus, i.e. the main east to west axis, through the city built by the Romans.
Its importance was such that, from the Middle Ages onwards, the authorities of church and state, as well as many businesses, put down roots in its immediate vicinity.
In the years of the Council of Trent (1542-1563), groups of lay people opened up new-found avenues of spirituality and devotion, which found expression in the everyday life of the city, especially along the vibrant Via Dora Grossa, the main thoroughfare for civic, university and business life.
It was here, for example, that the Venerabile Compagnia della Fede Cattolica (later known as Compagnia di San Paolo), the Confraternita della Santissima Trinità and the Confraternita di San Giovanni Battista Decollato (Misericordia) established themselves, and were later joined by other apostolates and charitable organizations, such as the Congregazione dei Banchieri, Negozianti e Mercanti.

The artistic heritage consists mainly of works by artists and architects who were involved in court life and the construction work relating to the Palazzo Ducale, including the painter Giovanni Caracca, the ducal engineer Ascanio Vitozzi (who designed the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità), Carlo di Castellamonte, the painter Federico Zuccari (whose works can be seen in the Chiesa dei Santissimi Martiri and the Chiesa della Confraternita della Misericordia), and Guglielmo Caccia (otherwise known as “il Moncalvo”), whose religious art reflected the spiritual path of his own life and that of his daughters (one of his pictorial meditations on the Epiphany can still be seen in the Cappella dei Mercanti).

The artistic and architectural heritage, the works conserved in the Diocesan Museum and the Royal Museums, and the works that adorn the walls, vaults, domes and chapels of the churches here, make Via Garibaldi a scattered-site urban museum in its own right.

Chiesa di
San Lorenzo

An integral part of the complex of royal palaces, the church was built by Theatine Clerics Regular between 1666 and 1680 according to a design by mathematician and philosopher Guarino Guarini, a member of the same religious order. A plain civil façade prevents the church from competing with the ducal palace. The central space of the liturgical hall is illuminated by an octagonal dome, a masterpiece of European Baroque art.

Chiesa della
Santissima Trinità

After the Council of Trento the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity became one of the most active religious and charitable bodies in Turin. Its headquarters, located in one of the most important crossroads in the city, were designed at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Ascanio Vitozzi, who was both employed at court and in the urban transformation of the capital. He was a member of the brotherhood and buried in the church itself. The liturgical furnishings and decorations have been subject to continuous updates throughout history.

Chiesa dei
Santi Martiri

The memory of the first Christian martyrs of Turin – Solutore, Avventore and Ottavio – was entrusted by the Duke Emanuele Filiberto to the Compagnia di Gesù (Society of Jesus), which was invited to Turin in 1566 to support the spiritual life of the capital. The Holy Martyrs Church is the first major Savoy religious site, the subject of repeated artistic interventions and liturgical updates made by architects and court artists; it is also the first home of the Venerabile Compagnia della Fede Cattolica (Worshipful Brotherhood of the Catholic Faith), thereafter Compagnia di San Paolo, established in 1563 for charitable purposes.

Chiesa della

The Confraternity of St. John the Baptist Beheaded (or the Mercy) from 1578 was dedicated to materially and spiritually helping prisoners and those sentenced to death. Its permanent location, related to the perspective from via Dora Grossa (now Garibaldi), is a reconstruction from 1751; in the following decades it became the main religious complex in which the most significant court artists of the late eighteenth century were employed.

Chiesa di
Santa Chiara

The current Chiesa di Santa Chiara stands on the site of a much older building which, since the 15th Century at the latest, occupied the site against the medieval walls, with the church already located on the corner between two streets. Additional works over the centuries have erased all trace of the earlier buildings, including the primitive church, which was rebuilt from the ground up between 1742 and 1746 to a design by Bernardo Vittone.

Cappella dei

The Pious Congregation of Bankers, Shopkeepers and Merchants of Turin, recognized in 1663, has its own chapel inside the palace of the Jesuits in the block of San Paolo. Constructed during the rectory of the Jesuit Agostino Provana (1680-1726), the chapel is a treasure trove of works that, moving from biblical and eschatological themes of the vault painted by Legnanino, develop the theme of the Epiphany. The liturgical solemnity invites us to meditate on the manifestation of Christ to the powers of the earth, and it is where the congregation celebrates its feast.

Royal Museums

Diocesan Museum