“The Ancestor’s Home” (M01)
The evocation of Cavour starts from the great 18th-century hunting hall overlooking the park, restored to its ancient magnificence and original colors. In this grand setting Camillo Cavour’s family is celebrated by a number of busts, in harmony with an historicized setting. The sitting room with its armchairs and sofas enhanced by Bandera embroidery, and lavish Chinese screens, stand out as truly remarkable. A sound track and projections on the vault take visitors back to the nostalgic atmosphere of June 1861.
“Family dinners” (M02)
The room used as a dining room is enhanced by still lives with wild game and posed animals by Angelo Maria Crivelli and Giovanni Crivelli. The room was refurbished in the 19th century by Giuseppina Cavour, the statesman’s niece, and is evocative of convivial moments and the play of relationships, conflicts and affections. A narrating voice recalls moments from Cavour’s childhood, starting with a precious Baccarat dinner service featuring the Benso coat of arms.
“The Castle in iconographic tradition” (M03)
Iconography related to the Santena residence is gathered in the small room, the only rare paintings in existence. Images are suggestive of the location’s centuries of history, while a narrating voice expounds on the emotional bond between Camillo and his family and their abode. Maps and projections illustrate the different Benso residences with special care for Santena Castle, designed by Francesco Gallo (1712-20), and the palace in Turin, designed by Gian Giacomo Plantery (1729).
“Benso di Cavour: a genealogy in images” (M04)
This room, former studio of minister Emilio Visconti Venosta, is enhanced by multimedia tools creating a half-lit environment and lighting up the people portrayed in the room in chronological order. The purpose is to illustrate Camillo Cavour’s web of family relations and the ancient origins of the Benso lineage. A narrating voice takes visitors through the Count’s relationship with family tradition.
“A cosmopolitan taste for celebrating bloodlines” (M05)
The following room, housing furnishings in line with the 18th century taste for chinoiseries, symbol of a culture shared by international aristocracy, was certainly seen and experienced by Camillo during his stays in Santena. Music by Pugnani highlights the family’s magnificence, pursued and cultivated over the centuries.
”Family alliances” (M06)
The many portraits hanging in the sitting room recall the nuptial strategies implemented by the Cavours with ancient Savoy aristocracy, in particular with the Lascaris of Ventimiglia. Music by Viotti evokes the dignified feel of the room, complementing a lavish fresco on the vault recently brought back to life by restoration work.
“Savoy roots” (M07)
Marquess Filippina of Cavour, born de Sales, represents the new socio-economic status of the Benso family between the ancien régime and the Napoleonic era, after establishing new family alliances. The Marquess’s room with its sumptuous four-poster bed contributes to the celebration of Camillo’s strong emotional bond with his Savoy grandmother, a relationship emphasized by the narrating voice.
“The end of a world” (M08)
The exhibits on show in the room include an important collection of twelve engravings by Pietro Bagetti, part of a series of Views of Piedmont and Nice (1793-1795): testament of an atmosphere of trust in a family returned to florid financial conditions and social standing in a moment of transition between two different eras. In this context, events concerning the war and the collapse of the Savoy state are related through a multimedia set-up with visuals and sound drawing from a series of paintings depicting Napoleonic campaigns, again by Bagetti.
“An imperial gift” (ST13)
A precious Sèvres vase, donated by Napoleon III to Camillo Cavour, and a portrait of the statesman by Ciseri, introduce visitors to the statesman’s extraordinary life, illustrated on the first and second floor.