The city is located west of Milan and close to the French border. It is part of the Piedmont region and has a population of almost 1 million people.
It is sometimes called the "cradle of Italian liberty" as it is the birthplace of many politicians, specifically Cavour, who were key people in the Risorgimento or Unification of Italy. It is also home to University of Turin and Turin Polytechnic. These universtiy connections, as in Lecce, give this city a very young and vibrant feel as you walk around. It was the first capital of the unified Italy in 1861, and has a rich and varied historical past.
I have never visited here before, I am very sorry to say. Being from Detroit, I saw Turin as just another automotive city, with Fiat having their headquarters located here. I expected a commercial, industrial, charmless city. Boy was I wrong. Turin is a city not to miss. First of all it is beautiful with wide, expansive piazzas that are pedestrian only. The architecture is such that you can almost imagine that you are in Paris. Besides architecture, it is filled with fascinating museums and palaces.
We were motivated to visit Turin by the exhibition of the Shroud of Turin which is currently on display. The religious myth of the shroud is that it was the burial cloth of Jesus. It has been Carbon 14 dated to the 1300's and many people believe that it is a medieval forgery. I say so what? A relic to me is a true relic as long as people believe in it, and there are many people who believe in the shroud, so we were off to see it. You can read more about the shroud here:https://www.shroud.com
The shroud was beautifully displayed. We processed up through the park with many police, ambulances, doctors and volunteers every few steps. Because it is such a revered object, I suppose the threat of a terrorist attack is always on people's minds. We finally made it into the church. We had reservations for the group of 8:15 to 8:30AM and they made sure we were all in our correct time slot. Someone in front of me had the time of 8:45 and they made him go back. Love these northern Italians!
Once we were in the church, we watched a film that was subtitled in Italian, English and French. After the video, we were led into a room and they put the lights on the shroud. Here are some photos.
Note the soldiers standing guard on either side of the shroud, poor things. There was a nun who read the prayer of the shroud and then we all stood an looked at it for a few minutes. Here is a close up for what it's worth.
If you look very carefully at the middle of the shroud you can faintly discern a face that is facing to your left. It is just to the left of the four little holes in the middle. You can see skeletal outlines on the left. The right hand side of the shroud was wrapped under the body. One of the interesting things about the shroud is that they had no idea how the image was done. There are many theories as you can imagine, but they have never been able to duplicate it. Seeing it was "an experience" as the Italians say.
We left the church and went on the the Egyptian museum. This was another surprise. This museum has more Egyptian artefacts outside of Cairo than any other museum in the world. You can read more about it here.
The displays in the museum are very dramatic. We only saw about 1/3 of it as the totality is a bit overwhelming, but we are definitely going back to see more.
Can you imagine transporting all of this from Cairo to Turin in the early 1900's?
We also visited Palazzo Madama.http://www.palazzomadamatorino.it/pagina3.php?id_pagina=103
Another interesting place with gardens, painitngs, stautes. I found this one of the most fascinating paintings I've seen of the Madonna and child. Do you notice anything unusual about the baby?
Odd don't you think?
Turin is a city of whimsy as well as museums.
This installation was so unexpected as we walked across the street toward the austere tower. I loved it.
The bubbles are placed hanging from the ceiling of the arcade and they have lingerie and other clothes in them...don't ask me why. It was just delightful to come across.
It goes without saying that the food was excellent. Turin is known for coffee, wine and chocolate. Oh yes and pastries too. We will definitely return.