I visited Torino. The capital of 2006 Winter Olympics- the ones were M. Drobiazko and P. Vanagas were so close to winning that it was almost unbearable to watch when they ended up in a 5th place.
I visited the city, which was the first capital of united Italy in 1861 and which is a home to the House of Savoy- Italians royal family. Furthermore, it is a city where the so famous Shroud of Turin` s being guarded (but that needs a whole new chapter of my disappointment)…
I was in the city where i found another San Luca (Basilica di Superga), which is a home to one of Italy`s best universities and were the second largest collection of Egyptian antiques (after Cairo museum) can be found.
Finally, I made myself leave Emilia-Romagna region and visit a capital of Piedmont where now reside my beloved M&D.
Though Torino is from Bologna around 400 km, but with comfortable italo trains it can be reached in short two hours. And when after those two hours I got off the train in Torino Porta Nuova station I instantly felt like in metropolitan- with hundreds of people rushing, tens of signs showing direction to all different parts of Torino and all the harmony of glass and metal construction. Though not the main train station of Torino, but still Torino Porta Nuova left me with the best impressions.
Besides, my plan in Torino was not to see as much as I can but more to be with M&D, my lovely cousin and his wife, but it happened that I did both. And really enjoyed my time.
Basilica di Superga. As Saturday morning was beautiful and sunny, the first thing we did was visiting Basilica di Superga, located on a high hill on the outskirts of Torino. While waiting for the bus the three of us stared into the church on the hill and the only thought we had was that it looked so similar to San Luca in Bologna!
We hopped on the bus and drove through narrow and winding road to the top of the hill. Basilica di Superga overlooks Torino city and the panorama is just incredible. I guess the most beautiful view of the city is on a clear cloudless day when you can see Alps surrounding the city.
This place by Italians is not only known because of a beautiful basilica. In 1949 a tragic accident happened here. A plane, flying the famous Torino A.C. football team crashed into the hill and all the team including the crew died. Now only a memorial stands in this place.
So, besides this sad story, after visiting the memorial, climbing the basilica tower we decided to come back to the city. The only problem we had was that the last bus left, so we had to walk down the road for 5 kilometers back to the city along with some sun and on and off rain. We just made it back in time for a strong rainfall.
Due to the rain we had to make a bit of a break and we continued our walk around the city later in the afternoon.
Heart of the city- Piazza Castello. The piazza contains Palazzo Reale, which is a former residence of Savoy family, and Palazzo Madama, in which the first years of united Italy a Senate was held, and a Biblioteca Reale, where Autoritratto di Leonardo is guarded and, of course, Torre Littoria, a skyscraper, (which for me is one of the worst architectural buildings) which has to be a Fascist party headquarters but never actually became.
Symbol of the city- Mole Antonelliana. Initially, the building was supposed to be a synagogue but never became one and ended up as a Cinema museum. The story tells us, that Torino Jewish community wanted to build a synagogue, but due to the conflict with an architect they withdrew from the project and the city of Torino had to finish the building themselves.
The shroud of Torino. In Duomo di Torino there is this small chapel in which, as a brochure tells the shroud of Turin is guarded. Even before I even went to the Duomo to see the shroud was apparently Jesus was lying on (not that I am religious. Just really, really curious…) I read all about it. I read the history of the shroud and how it was clearly mentioned up until the XIV century, how it was guarded by the Savoy family, who brought the shroud to Turin and how several fires tried to destroy the holy thing. In the same brochure every inch of the shroud was described but what is the point of that if you are not able to see the shroud yourself and make sure that it is actually real??? (You see, the shroud is on exhibition just on very special occasions such as less than an hour on The Big Saturday…) you can see my disappointment here. Ah, I was soooo extremely annoyed.
Miracles and witches. There are some places in Turin that are said to grant wishes. For example, in Piazza Castello there this wish pillar on which you have to put your leg and make a wish for it to become true. Or, in one street under the porticos and a huge Martini sign there is a tile with a mule on it which brings luck if you step on it.
Besides all these magical places in the city, Turin is also known as a city of witches, devil and dark magic. It seems that the city`s people were attracted to the magic especially in the XIX century as there were lots of cults, witches and it is even said that under Piazza Statuto there are doors to the hell. Even on the houses of the city you can find sculptures of devils and all kind of hell creatures…
And, though, there is magic in the city nobody was able to stop the time and my weekend passed as always way too quickly…