Palazzos, The Mole, and the cold!
Turin Travel Blog› entry 12 of 15 › view all entries
I woke up to cloudy and coldâ€¦.really cold! It looked like one of those days that you just donâ€™t leave the house I took my shower and got ready for my day. Marco had gone to take the ladies to the train station. Their train was delayed so, he was a bit late returning. When he returned he made me some tea and we chatted a bitâ€¦..actually a long time. I was still tired from the previous dayâ€™s journey and dragging.
I looked over my desires and at the map, as well, and made a plan for the day, trying to be efficient with my time and logical order to my day.
I left the house and headed to Via Garibaldi to make my way to the Piazza Castello and the tourist information center.
The Via Garibaldi is a pedestrian street that is the â€śmallâ€ť of Torino. People tend to gather here. Near to the Piazza was a demonstration by locals against VAT tax. Good luck with that!!!
At the tourist info center, I bought a museum card. At 20 euro for 2 days it covered it covered the 5 times that I used it that would have been 32 euro. Thatâ€™s a pretty good deal.
My first stop was at the Palazzo Reale. Give a bit of history. They require that you be with a guide to visit the Palazzo but, the only tours being offered right now are in Italian. So, to have any information on the palazzo I needed to purchase the use of an audio guide. So, I followed along with the group and was in my own little world with my headphones on.
The Palazzo Reale was the site that was once part of an old BIshop's palace in the center of the new capital of Savoy, Turin.
They require that your visit be guided and were only offering the visit in Italian. They do offer an audio guide that you can take along for the journey. The house is not heated so....it was very, very cold. It made for an uncomfortable experience but, I am glad to have seen and learned more about it.
The rooms were a unique collection of differing styles, all creative in their expression. I wish I had been able to take pictures as there were so many inspiring elements of the decor.
From here, it was back out into the cold. I walked into the piazza and then behind the Palazzo Madama, a very interesting building in that it is of on century in back and the faĂ§ade is many centuries newer.
I continued behind and into the GIardi Reale and found a distant view of the Mole Antonelianna. What a building. Iâ€™ve wanted to see it up close for a long time. Also, in this area, you can see the old fortification walls and two of the corner guard structures. One of them had been painted to be quite colorful. The other, a bit more hidden, was unembellished brick.
Cotinuning on to the west I reach the Porta Palatina. Give a bit of history. Itâ€™s a bit of a shell of a former something grandâ€¦now abandonedâ€¦.sad.
Across from it is Piazza San Giovanni where the Cattredale di San Giovanni Battista, which was currently closed in preparation for the viewing of the great Shroud of Turin. That will be available for viewing by reservation beginning April 10 through May 23.
Making the round back to Piazza Castello, I decided to visit the Palazzo Madama. Give a bit of history on the Palazzo. The front staircase alone is worth a look. It is definitely one of the grand ones.
I entered the museum and put my coat and backpack away. I assumed that as in most museums on this trip, this one wouldnâ€™t allow photography. Also, given that there was no visible audio guides;, I assumed that they didnâ€™t offer one. The girl who assisted me at the counter never even spoke to me during the transaction. She should have / could have asked if I wanted an audio guide as it became obvious that guides were available (headphone symbols and numbers on exhibits). Also, I saw numerous people taking pictures but, that wasnâ€™t until quite a bit later in the museumâ€¦.aarrgghh!!!
They have an enviable collection of religious paintings, carvings and altar pieces from the Piedemonte area from the 14th century onward with a few pieces much, much older.
I have to come back, tomorrow and take some pictures. They also have a special exhibition of table wear from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was that of the Czar Nicholas II.
From the Palazzo Madama I walked down the Via Romaâ€™s fabulous arcades to the Piazza San Carlo to see the Twin Churches. They arenâ€™t actually twins at there are distinct differences between them.
Chisea di San Carlo is on the right. It was built in 1619 for the Barefoot Augustinians, a religious order under the patronage of the Savoys, and dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo.
I was able to go inside of Chisea de Santa Christina which has a dark, rich, heavy Baroque interior.
Back down the Via Roma to the Via Po but, stopping along the way for window shopping at the many sweet treat shops. Torino produces its own chocolate which is frequently handmade into delicacies and quite tasty and expensive.
I walked the Via Po down to the Po River and across to the other side. At the Piazza Gran Madre Di Dio I entered the church upon the hill, the classically domed church of the same name. It is Neo-Roman style has a simplistic feel with its mostly monotone decoration. The view from the front steps it that if the cityâ€™s buildings mostly at one level and the Mole Antonellianna dramatically piercing Torinoâ€™s heart.
Back across the Po, I weaved through the well thought out grid of streets to get to the Mole. In person, this is even more impressive of a building than in pictures. As the largest brick building in Europe, itâ€™s lower section looks to be a stately mansion but then the dramatic dome and spire make it an unusual mixture of Neo- classic and the indefinable.
Inside is housed the National Cinema Museum. Now, I didnâ€™t expect much from that but, I had the museum card and decided to take a chance on it, at least I would get to see the whole building this way.
It is actually fantastic. It traces cinema back thousands of years to the Chinese finger puppet shows and mechanical paper puppet art. There is a tremendous collection of equipment and they even go through the how and why our eyes and brains interpret images the way they do.
In the main hall section there are some special props and miniatures that were important to their respective films such as; the gremlin form Gremlins, a dinosaur from Jurassic Park, the cape of superman from the 1978 Superman movie, and even and alien costume from Aliens.
There is a poster gallery that spans several floors and leads you down to the central open space with many theme rooms set up such as horror, drama, and action. They are creatively designed with a unique and appropriate look to each setting.
In the center is set up two areas with comfy lounges with integrated speakers around your head. As you lay back and enjoy, you have two different movies being screened depending on the area you lay in. There are large screens hung from the other side of the space, it is a unique viewing experience. Also visible while laying down, is the whole interior dome and itâ€™s panoramic lift as it takes people to itâ€™s heights! As the weather was miserable and foggy, I would wait until the next day for the lift.
Outside the sun was setting and the Mole was flooded with light.
I walked through the Piazza Castello on my way back to the B&B and it, as well, was nicely lit and full activity. The protest was still going strong.
I stopped for another church along the Via Garibaldi. Another Neo-Classic styled gem with dark, rich interior and heavy detailing. It has a fantastic frescoed dome that has been made dim by the ravages of time but, still amazing.
I returned to the room. Marco went out to dinner with his family and I picked up Italian take out made my the Chinese people at he restaurant on the ground floor.
I worked on the blog a bit but mostly just relaxed and enjoyed my beautiful surroundings.
When Marco returned, I heard much noise coming from the living room. I found him sitting in the middle of the floor with a manual and looking defeated. He was trying to install a new piece to his entertainment system that he had in the closet for a year. He decided that he had enough for the day and asked if I wanted to watch the movie. Quantum of Solace was playing as he was trying to make the necessary adjustments. So, we watched until he was falling asleep and I was about toâ€¦..time for bed!
I hoped for better weather, tomorrow. Off to sleep!