From Turin to Egypt and back again: the Savoy egyptian collection
The core of the Museo Egizio is the collection of Egyptian antiquities owned by the Savoy family – the dynasty which shaped Turin and Piedmont, and that will lead Italy to independence and reunification.
Everything start in 1630, when the Bembine Tablet gets to Turin…
Savoy family and Museo Egizio: falling in love with Egypt
The Bembine Tablet, named after the Cardinal Pietro Bembo (1470 – 1547), an important figure in the Italian Humanism movement, was acquired by the scholar and antiquarian after the Sack of Rome (1527).
Technically the Tablet is not an Egyptian artefact, but a Roman copy.
The tablet was acquired by the Gonzaga family, the rulers of Mantua, after Bembo’s death and it arrived in 1630 in Turin after the defeat of Mantua army by the Emperor Ferdinand II.
It’s in 1753 that the current Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel III, is so struck by the beauty of the Bembine Tablet that he plans an expedition to Egypt to acquire more artefacts from the land of the Pharaos.
The expedition chief Vitaliano Donati will come back with more than 3 hundred pieces, an egyptian museum was born…
And definitely an important one: Jean-François Champollion will use Turin’s papyrus collection to test his decryption of the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing.
The Turin Museo Egizio today
The museum has been remodelled in 2006 to celebrate the Winter Olympics Games based in Turin, and it has been completely reorganized in 2015.
The Museo Egizio is now not only the most important collection of Egyptian archeology in Italy and amongst the most important in Europe, but it is also a great modern museum.
The four floors of the museum have been restored to give visitors an even better experience. Great multimedia content spices up the visit too, providing 3D reconstructions of the environment of the artefacts, interactive maps, photo and video galleries.