Turin landscape is dominated by the Mole (no: not the subterranean mammal…): a huge (“mole” in Italian means basically big building) construction with a long and a troubled history which is now a beautiful museum as well, the museum of the Seventh Art: Museo del Cinema.
Bigger than life: Mister Antonelli’s dream, the Mole Antonelliana
The Mole Antonelliana project is strictly connected to the history of Turin as capital of Italy.
In 1848 the Kingdom of Piedmont – Sardinia gave Jewish community full civil rights.
In 1861 the Kingdom of Piedmont – Sardinia, after the second war of independence and the Garibaldi’s Expedition of the Thousand, became the Kingdom of Italy and the Jewish community planned the construction of a synagogue worth of a capital city.
With a budget of 250 thousand lire (the lira has been the Italian currency before the euro) they choose the architect Antonio Antonelli to build the new synagogue.
The Antonelli’s project became immediately difficult to manage: while Turin was losing its status of capital (Florence have been the capital of Italy between 1864 and 1865, between Turin and Rome), the cost was skyrocketing. The construction was consequently halted in 1869, while the Mole was still having a provisional roof.
In 1876, due to the costs, the Jewish community withdrew from the project, which gained the support of the whole city, and with that – finally – the end of the construction.
Movies and Sightseeing
The Mole Antonelliana has been the Museum of the Risorgimento between 1908 and 1938 (The Museum of the Risorgimento is now in Palazzo Carignano) and it is now the national museum of cinema – Museo Nazionale del Cinema.
The Museo Nazionale del Cinema is simply a must see: multimedia installations, a huge collection of movie posters and other memorabilia wait for you. Moreover, via the museum you can visit the hidden corners of the Mole and access its dome, with an outstanding view.