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Baroque Architecture in Piedmont.

Historiographies, Technologies, People and Innovation

For two thousand years, Piedmont and its capital, Torino, at the foot of the Alps, have been a strategic link between the Mediterranean and the continental Europe. Since the 16th century, Torino has been the centre of gravity of the Savoy Duchy, then the main city of the Kingdom of Sardinia, and finally the first Italian capital in 1861. Along the 20th century, the city has become one of the major Italian industrial centres, then shifting progressively, in the last twenty years, towards a new status of successful place of relevant touristic and cultural interest.

The link connecting these different experiences has been a continuous process of innovation, in which cultural heritage is playing today a strategic role. This dialectic between tradition and innovation has characterized architecture, urban shape, building technologies in the Baroque era and later.

My presentation will focus on buildings and construction sites of the Baroque capital city, placing them in the context of recent historic research and restoration works, to understand what we can learn from these experiences in terms of innovation and knowledge strategies today.

Mauro Volpiano, PhD, architectural historian, teaches Urban and

Landscape Heritage at the Polytechnic University of Torino, where he is also a member of the Board of the PhD program in Architectural and Landscape Heritage. He has been focusing his studies on the architecture and the history of urbanism in the modern and contemporary Italy, being the author or editor of a dozen books on cultural heritage and historic landscapes, between 17th

and 19th century especially. Recently, he has been undertaking research projects with Japan (invited research fellow at the Nagoya University 2016), France (Universities of Aix-Marseille and Grenoble, 2015-17). For ten years he has been the coordinator of the interdisciplinary research group created to give scientific support to the restorations of the huge Baroque palaces and gardens of

Venaria Reale, near Torino, now in the Unesco World Heritage List.

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