Logo del Senato della Repubblica Italiana

History of Palazzo Madama

"The new elective Senate is an unprecedented institution in the century-long history of our young Republic, for it comes into being not at the behest of a high authority of state but in response to
the people's will to directly reflect the political feelings of the ation". 8 May 1948. Ivanoe Bonomi pronounced these words at the beginning of the new Parliament when he took office as President of the first republican Senate. The ceremony was all the more remarkable because it marked a historical coincidence with a similar
event that had taken place exactly one hundred years earlier; the joint sitting (of Chamber and Senate) that had inaugurated the Parliament of Piedmont in Turin, in a building of the same name: Palazzo Madama.
The psychological history of a country is no less influential than the history of events and persons. In Italy's psychological history, the name "Palazzo Madama" itself has a special meaning, for a Palazzo Madama has housed the Senate in Turin, capital of Piedmont, and
the Senate in Rome, capital city of unified Italy.
In the eyes of many, the histories of the two women who gave their names to the two buildings gradually merged into one, and many went as far as believing that the "Madams" of Turin and Rome were one and the same.
In fact, there were two Madamas, and each represented a different era and a very different historical context. Margaret of Austria - the Roman Madama - lived when the Renaissance was at its highest and the Medici family and their relations with the papacy and the empire at their strongest.
Christine of France - the Madama of Turin - represented a totally different historical period, about one hundred years later, when the Duchy of Savoy had very close ties with France.
The two women have nothing more in common than the nickname of
madama, and their being related to the Medici family.