Manica Lunga

The Manica Lunga was built for Duke Carlo Emanuele I in the first half of the 17th century by the Castellamonte architects, Amedeo and his son Carlo. This long, narrow building, at that time connected to the Castle, was used to house the Duke’s collection of pictures.

Like all the buildings in the complex, the Manica Lunga was damaged by the French troops of General Catinat in 1693. In the architect Filippo Juvarra’s new plans for the complex, made in the early eighteenth century, it was to be destroyed and replaced by a symmetrical building with a great entrance hall and a ballroom on the first floor. However, due to excessive construction costs, the plan was not carried out, and the Manica Lunga was used as service space. In 1883, when the Savoy family sold the Castle to the city, it was used as a barracks. After World War II, it became a residence for evacuees. These utilisations led to modifications of the structure, with the building of new spaces for hygienic services, as one can see in photographs that document the degradation and dereliction of the building.

The restoration of the Manica Lunga started in 1986 and finished in 2000 with the opening of the exhibition space on the third floor. Thus the building’s original vocation was reclaimed. Andrea Bruno, the architect at the center of the restoration, placed staircases and an elevator on the exterior of the building, realized in transparent materials that allow the 147 meter-long, 6 meter-wide structure to remain visible. The metal roof, a completely new addition, is characterized by repetitive ribs, forming a central cap for the entire length of the building. Natural light has been greatly increased thanks to the large windows and the elimination of the attics and the structures realized in more recent times and not pertaining to the Castellamonte period.