I’ll admit that I didn’t expect to be blown away by anything in Torino other than the food, as the region of Piedmont (where Torino is located) is renown for its gastronomy and wines. To my pleasant surprise, I fell in love with this city!
Piedmont is the heart of Italian industry, where household names such as Maserati, Lavazza Coffee, and Fiat-Chrysler operate (unfortunately, the latter will be relocating its headquarters soon). That being said, I expected the city center to be representative of its industrious roots. Not so. I have to assume that the factories and offices are located in the periphery, as the center was delightfully charming and had an almost Parisian feel to it. See below for more details about my day here.
Museo di Risorgimento
The Italian risorgimento refers to the unification of Italy as a single state, which occurred in the late 19th century. This museum showcased artifacts and information about Italy’s history before, during, and after unification.
Having taken a sociology elective that covered the risorgimento pretty in-depth when I studied abroad, I was able to appreciate this museum more so than the average American. An Italian person would take an even greater interest in it, for obvious reasons. Having seen my fair share of art museums in Europe, it was refreshing to visit one with a more historical focus. Perhaps most notable about this museum is that Italy’s first parliament chamber is housed inside it.
No image of the Torinese skyline is complete without showing Mole Antonelliana. Originally erected as an architectural landmark in the 19th century, today the building contains Museo Nazionale del Cinema (or, the National Museum of Cinema).
Shroud of Turin
While I’m very unreligious, the Catholic school girl in me was very excited to get to see something I’ve only learned about through books and documentaries. That being, Sindone di Torino, or the Shroud of Turin. The shroud is a piece of cloth that was believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. The image of a man’s face can be clearly seen on the shroud through digitally processed photos. While the Catholic Church neither affirms nor denies that the shroud is actually Jesus’ burial cloth, it’s definitely thought-provoking.
The shroud lives inside a shrine within the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Visitors are not able to view the shroud itself, as it is kept in a box behind a glass wall in a temperature-controlled room. Nevertheless, it was still pretty cool to get as close as I probably ever will to this world-famous relic.
Italy’s largest river, the Po, runs for about 400 miles through the north of the country. Torino is considered to be the first “major” city where it passes through. Being a lover of all things Italian, I was thrilled to finally see the country’s most prominent river with my own eyes! Although I have to confess, while the Po is nice, nothing tops walking along the Tiber in Rome.