The project of the Piazza Carlina was realized during the regency of Maria Giovanna Battista di Savoia-Nemours (1675-1684). The previous project was made in 1674, by Amedeo di Castellamonte for the will of Carlo Emanuele II who wanted, in order to celebrate his sovereign state, a wide square with uniformed façades and a fountain with an equestrian statue portraying him in the center of the square. But it wasn’t realized due to the Duke’s death.
The project was reduced to a square area destined, from an edict of 1678, for the wine market.
The position was modified many times and the square was placed in a more south-eastern position from the initial plan which placed it next to via Po.
In the south side there is the Church of Santa Croce, with the oriental bell tower and the late 19th century façade. In the centre, there is a Cavour statue by Giovanni Duprè.
In 1850 the enlargement plan of the capital was launched. The city was structured into 3 levels for the areas outside Porta Nuova, Valdocco and Vanchiglia. In the first of these levels the Municipality ran operations, from the selling of the lands to the realization of the development buildings, on the indications by the architect Carlo Promis, who developed everything, from the drawing of the route of a road to the architectonic decoration.
The core of the intervention is Piazza Carlo Felice. It is characterized by the homogeneous treatment of the façade of the porticoed buildings, finished with an attic of semi-pillars. Those façades melt themselves to the north to the head of the Contrada of Porta Nuova (later – via Roma), designed in a semi-octagonal shape, while to the south they turn along the Strada del Re (later Corso Vittorio Emanuele II).
Piazza San Carlo is the most beautiful square of Turin, specifically created for parades and markets. It keeps the 17th century look of harmonious uniformity given to it by the royal architect Carlo di Castellamonte (1642-1650).
In the centre of the square there is the equestrian statue of Emanuele Filiberto by Carlo Marocchetti.
The short side of the square, on the south-west side is fenced by the almost twin façades of the Churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo. Noticeable are the traditional café San Carlo, the café Torino and the confectionery Fratelli Stratta.
The history of the square began in the second half of the 14th century, when the princes of Savoia-Acaia decided to demolish the blocks near the castle and the city walls, creating an area used for dynastic events.
In the centre of the square Palazzo Madama is situated, surrounded by three monuments: in front of the façade the one dedicated to the all'Alfiere dell'Esercito sardo, in the south the one to the Cavalieri d'Italia and in the east the one to Emanuele Filiberto duke of Aosta.