In the staterooms on the palace’s piano nobile – these being the interiors of highest artistic value, so also the most strictly protected – improvement work was limited to restoration only. Before any work could go ahead, historical studies and stratigraphic analysis were carried out by the local authority.
The heart of the Castello di Guarene palace-museum consists of the fifteen most highly valued interiors, occupying both sides of the central hall.
A guest exploring these fifteen historical interiors on either side of the Salone d’Onore (central hall) will find them just as the royal couple did on their visit in 1773.
The Stanza del Vescovo (Bishop’s Room) is still completely intact, displaying one of the most spectacular examples of Piedmontese baroque bandera – fantastically intricate polychrome designs embroidered in wool on worsted cotton fabric. Also preserved intact is the Camera Azzurra (Azure Room), where bandera embroidery is used in designs of finely plaited wreaths and floral blooms.
Guests who stop to admire the two Chinese Rooms (Sale Cinesi) – richly decorated in 18th-century Chinese wallpaper – should note that these hand-painted wallpapers made the long journey from the Orient in the second half of the 18th century, travelling via London then by sea as far as Marseilles, from where they were transported by mule to the palace. They remain perfectly preserved in the Sale Cinesi to this day – a fine compliment to the silk fabrics that grace the four-poster beds with oriental motifs.
On lifting their gaze up to the frescoed vaults of the Dining Hall and Gallery, guests will be drawn to compare them with those at the Palazzina di Caccia in Stupinigi – and, we are sure, will arrive at the conclusion that the ceilings at Guarene closely rival them in beauty. The nineteenth-century vaulted ceiling of the Sala della Musica (Music Room) will also delight the eye.
Viewed as a whole, the paintings that embellish the doorframes and walls of the historic heart of the palace represent a collection of art that is by no means second-rate. Guests may – perhaps unexpectedly – encounter several well-known canvases, among them the outstanding Madonna della Cappella, and landscapes by Scipione and Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli. In addition to all this, the palace is a rich source of interest for the amateur historian – in the region of eighty historical figures, among them princes, kings, bishops, dames and knights – as well as an exceptional museum collection of faces, stories and fascinating mementoes of the past. For those interested in fashion history, the women’s clothing dating from the palace’s heyday and before that is presented here gives a vivid insight into women’s fashion of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The palace also offers an itinerary of fine antique furniture, ranging from 17th-century carved wooden chests to exquisite examples of Louis XVI.
Last – but not least – among the highlights of Castello di Guarene is the library. A gem for connoisseurs and a fascinating sight for all, it has accumulated hundreds of books over the centuries – all in beautiful leather bindings. Several volumes are unique examples.