POLITECNICO DI TORINO
The Politecnico di Torino is one of the most prestigious public institutions in Italy and internationally in training, research, technology in all sectors of Architecture and Engineering, a Research university with about 30,000 students. Politecnico di Torino has offices in the Piedmont area and a network of technological centers in Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta. The head office is the Cittadella Politecnica.
The Regio Politecnico di Torino (Royal Turin Polytechnic) was founded as institution in 1906, but its origins go back further. It was preceded by the Scuola di Applicazione per gli Ingegneri (Technical School for Engineers) founded in 1859 after the Casati Act, and by the Museo Industriale Italiano (Italian Industry Museum) founded in 1862 under the aegis of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry.
The first one, born in the University context, showed the way of research and higher education to technical studies. The second one addressed more directly to the situation of a country that was about to begin a new industrial era. Famous scholars and researchers, authorities in different subjects with characters to match, gave a decree to new subjects such as Electrotechnics and Building Science. They were the first to have a vision of founding a school which dealt with the needs of people and society. The Politecnico di Torino, which in 2009 celebrated its 150th academic year from its foundation, has become over the years an international school, where traditions and future, past and modernity are all interlinked.
The origins of the name of the Valentino Castle, bought by Emmanuel Philibert in 1564, after his official arrival in Piemonte, following the Cateau-Cambrésis Treaty and the transfer of the Savoy capital to Turin, refer to the geomorphological nature of the land, already named “Vallantinum”, not flat and even, but marked by the presence of a natural valley with watercourse, called “bealera del Valentino”, which still flows underground.
It was Christine of France, wife of Victor Amadeus I and after his husband’s death first Madama Reale, who promoted the conversion of the building (in XVII century) into maison de plaisance according to the French model, opened up in a wider local context, extended form the City to the hills, where the Duchess’ vineyard, today Abegg Villa, was constructed.
At the beginning of the XIX century, no longer used as ducal residence, the building housed the Scuola di Veterinaria (Veterinary Medicine School) and then it was employed as military barracks until it was ceded by the Crown to the State ownership in 1850. In 1859, the so-called Casati Law marked the rearrangement of the Italian educational programs at different level (primary, secondary, higher education) and in Turin it symbolized the official opening of the Regia Scuola di applicazione per gli ingegneri (Royal School of Application for Engineers), at the beginning of the Sixties at theValentino Castle.
After many subsequent expansion and restoration works, the Castle began to be used as university seat, place where research and specific studies can be carried out. It also represented a center of scientific and technological experimentations which led to the best choices for the safeguard and preservation of cultural heritage. Valentino Castle is the historical and representative base of the Politecnico and the main teaching campus for Architecture.