The Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine Parliament

The Hall of the The Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine Parliament is the only parliamentary construction to remain whole, in Europe, after the revolution of 1848

By National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

Palazzo Carignano - seventeenth-century facade (1679)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

The Hall of the The Chamber of Deputies is found in Torino in the heart of the Palace of the Princes of Carignano. It was designed by Guarino Guarini between 1679 and 1683.

Flag of Torino (inizio sec XIX)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

The palace remained the residence of the Savoia-Carignano family until 1799 when the occupying French set it aside as the administrative office of the Prefect responsible for the Po River Region.

Carlo Alberto signs the Statute (March 4th 1848) (fine sec XIX)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

Once the Albertine Statute was enacted on March 4th, 1848 it became necessary to face the problem of where to place the two houses of parliament as soon as possible and at minimum cost. Palazzo Madama was chosen for the Senate and for the Lower House it was decided to set up benches in the vast hall of honour in Carignano Palace. 

The Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine parliament 1848-1860 (1679/1898)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

The project was entrusted to Carlo Sada and in 50 days he created an amphitheatre style chamber with the representatives’ benches placed in semi-circles in front of the desk occupied by the president and the parliamentary secretaries.

It was here that the legislative activities of the Kingdom of Sardegna were carried forward between May 8th 1848 and December 28th 1860.

Il Mondo illustrato, 20 maggio 1848, anno II, n. 2 (1848)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

The first steps in the life of the parliament were filled with enthusiasm but they were also complex and hard going on a procedural level given that there were no precedents to refer to for example, as well as the lack of chairs and the use of a hat placed on the presidential desk serving as an urn to gather voting cards. 

Il Mondo illustrato, 20 ottobre 1860, anno III, n. 16 (1860)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

Between June and July of 1848 ministers began to abandon their places on the benches set aside for them and to sit at the table originally destined for the stenographers.

Il Mondo illustrato, 20 ottobre 1860, anno III, n. 16 (1860)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

The stenographers had to move to the small desk in front designated for the stenographers working in French and Italian. 

The Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine parliament 1848-1860 (1848/1860)National Museum of Italian Risorgimento

The chamber where, for 12 years, an important part of the history of the unification of Italy had been carried forward was closed… but never dismantled.

The Hall of the The Chamber of Deputies is found in Torino in the heart of the Palace of the Princes of Carignano. It was designed by Guarino Guarini between 1679 and 1683.

With the annexation activity between 1859 and 1860 the number of representatives rose from 204 seats, for which the Parliament was designed, to 308 which is the number serving today. With further progress on the unification of central and southern Italy and further increases in the number of representatives the chamber became too small to house them all.

The last sitting of the Subalpine Chamber was held on the 28th of December 1860. It lasted just half an hour, time enough for the reading of the royal decree dissolving the seventh legislature. 

The chamber where, for 12 years, an important part of the history of the unification of Italy had been carried forward was closed… but never dismantled.

The chamber was immediately designated as a National Monument and this was ratified in a decree on March 4th 1898 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the confirming of the Albertine Statute.

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