Historical Library

Madama Reale e la sua epoca

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Five years of civil war were fought in Piedmont between 1637 and 1642, under the regency of Madama Reale Cristina of France, in the framework of the Franco-Spanish War. She sided with her brother Louis XIII, King of France, to resist the political-military pressures of her brothers-in-law Thomas and Maurice of Savoy, allies of the Spanish forces, and ruled until 1648, when her son Carlo Emanuele II became duke.
In this period Turin, defended by the French, was besieged twice (1639 and 1640) by Spanish troops, then definitively defeated in 1642 at Casale Monferrato.

Christina of France (1606-1663), daughter of Henry IV of Bourbon and Maria de' Medici, wife of Vittorio Amedeo I of Savoy, was one of the prominent female figures of her historical era. An ally of France, she fought stubbornly to defend the independence of her kingdom, until the peace agreement with her brothers-in-law, concluded in 1642 thanks to the favorable development of the Franco-Spanish war after the liberation of Turin, obtained by the French troops.

Charming, lover of parties and dances, she was favored by Count Filippo d'Agliè, politician-literary-musician-choreographer, who devised for her memorable court performances, such as the ballet Il Gridellino (a pale grayish color, much loved by her). In her later years, however, Christina of France experienced a religious conversion that led her to frequent the convent of the Discalced Carmelites. She was buried in the church of Santa Cristina in Turin, until her ashes were transferred in 1802 to the church of Santa Teresa d'Avila.

The Historical Library of Palazzo Cisterna preserves among its archives three folders containing an interesting documentation of those years (more or less between 1630 and 1655): particularly noteworthy are the 237 documents preserved in the first folder, concerning the Savoy Wars against the Duke of Mantua and Montferrat and the political-military conflicts on the territory between France and Spain. Among these are the original treaty signed in 1638 between Maria Gonzaga, princess of Mantua and of Monferrato, guardian of Duke Carlo II Gonzaga, and the Marquis of Leganes, governor of the Duchy of Milan. The treaty deals with the question of the Spanish garrison of Casale, a city where Laganes suffered a defeat by the Franco-Monferrato troops led by the Count of Harcourt.
Of some interest also the documents contained in the third folder, a series of autograph manuscripts by the mayor of Turin Giovanni Francesco Bellezia.