Palazzo Madama e Casaforte degli Acaja is a palace in Turin, Piedmont. It was the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy, and takes its traditional name from the embellishments it received under two queens (madama) of the House of Savoy. In 1997, it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy.
At the beginning of the first century BC, the site of the palace was occupied by a gate in the Roman walls. Two of the towers, although restored, still testify to this original nucleus. Later the building became a possession of the Savoia-Acaja, a secondary branch of the House of Savoy; in the early 14th century, they enlarged it into a castle. A century later Ludovico of Acaja rebuilt it in square shape, with an inner court and a portico, and four cylindrical towers at each corner. The form of this edifice is still clearly recognisable from the back section of the palace. After the extinction of the Acajas, the edifice became a residence for guests of the house of Savoy.
In 1637 the regent for Duke Charles Emmanuel II, Christine of France (aunt of Louis XIV), chose it as her personal residence. She commissioned the covering of the court and a revamping of the inner apartments. Sixty years later another regent, Marie Jeanne of Savoy, who was known as Madama Reale, lived in the palace. She conferred upon it definitively the nickname of Madama (Italian for Madame). She invited many artists to renovate the building which the duchess wanted to turn into a sumptuous royal palace.
Later the palace had various uses, and housed the headquarters of the provisional French government during the Napoleonic Wars. In the 19th century King Charles Albert selected it as seat of the Pinacoteca Regia, the royal art gallery, and, later, of the Subalpine Senate (the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia) and of the High Court. Since 1934 it has housed to the City Museum of Ancient Art.
The Palazzo Madama houses the Turin City Museum of Ancient Art. Despite its name, it is a large collection of paintings, statues, church ornaments, porcelain, and decorative art, mostly from the late Middle Ages to the 18th century.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.