Turin has become Italy’s forgotten city over the past 100 years. For tourists, it comes a long way down the list behind the magnetic must-see destinations of Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples. For Italians, Turin is still perceived as a kind of “grim up north” metropolis of heavy industry, with its emblematic Fiat factories.
The city takes centre stage as the venue for Esperienza Italia, a nine-month celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Italian state. The Italy that we know today was officially united from disparate city states and dukedoms, and declared a nation as recently as 1861. And the city that became its capital (though for just four years) and site of the first parliament was Turin.
Turin now hosts a non-stop calendar of art, design and fashion exhibitions, opera and concert performances, festivals of theatre, cinema, street art and music.
Here are some of those we visited during our summer vacation!
The Venaria Reale, a sumptuous 17th-century hunting lodge and the residence of the Savoy royalty at the edge of the modern city, today a beautifully preserved world heritage site.
The blockbuster art exhibitions are all at the Venaria (Piazza della Repubblica), beginning with Bella Italia, a selection of more than 300 masterpieces by Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Veronese and Caravaggio.
There is the amazing Egyptian Museum (Via Accademia delle Scienze 6) whose collection of mummies and sarcophagi rivals that of the Cairo Museum.
TheTurin Cathedral is the major Roman Catholic church of Turin, northern Italy. Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, it was built during 1491-1498 and it is adjacent to an earlier campanile(1470). The Chapel of the Holy Shroud, the current resting place of the Shroud of Turin, was added to the structure in 1668-1694.
The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The image on the shroud is commonly associated with Jesus Christ, his crucifixion and burial. The origins of the shroud and its image are the subject of intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians and researchers. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the Roman Catholicdevotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
The Superga temple, designed by Filippo Juvarra was built in a panoramic position itself–and features some of the best views of Turin and the surrounding area you’ll find–many folks say the best views in all of Europe originate at the Superga. The royal tombs of the House of Savoy are here. The first stone of the Superga was laid by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II in 1717.
We spent doing more cultural sightseeing in the city. The National Cinema Museum of Torino. And yet it’s not a museum. At least not in the traditional sense of the term. Those of you who have already visited it understand what we mean. And those of you who are planning on visiting it will be surprised to discover what a special and unique place it is.
The Museum is one of the most important of its kind in the world thanks to its vast collection and the many different scientific and educational activities it carries out. But what makes it truly unique is its special exhibit setup. The museum is located inside the Mole Antonelliana, a bizarre and fascinating monument which is the symbol of the City of Torino. The highest masonary structure in Europe at over 500 feet. The tower, designed in 1863 by Alessandro Antonelli. It’s image is stamped on the Italian 2 Eurocent piece.And the various areas inside the Mole Antonelliana were the starting point for the Swiss set designer François Confino who, with talent and imagination, multiplied the museum’s itineraries. He created a spectacular presentation that offers visitors continuous and unexpected visual and acoustic stimuli, just like when we watch a film that involves and moves us.
The Museum is more than a museum and whoever enters it isn’t just a visitor but also an explorer, an author, an actor, a spectator… Inside there’s five floors of movie memorabilia, continuously playing movies you can view from specially designed lounge chairs with sound built into the headrests, a restaurant and more.
The exhibition floors wind around the outside of the Mole Antonelliana; the inside is a soaring empty space, in the center of which is a “naked” elevator which can take you up to the observation deck, the views from which are spectacular. (Salvador & Abucay Summer Vacation ’11 – photos by: bronzy_rp)