St Catherine of Alexandria (detail). Giovanni Ricca.
People carving their name in secret across the centuries
Sala del Senato
Originally built in Roman times as part of the access gates to the city, Palazzo Madama later became a castle and eventually, the residence of (more than one) Madame Royale in the 1600s and the 1700s. This was the place where female power found its expression: every painting, fresco and decoration never lets us forget that the Madame is the lady in charge. At her request, the Neoclassical architect Filippo Juvarra designed the iconic facade and the opulent staircase, still standing today. From a Medieval fortress, the Madame Royale transformed the palace into the heart of the political life of her time.