Chapter Four: Torino


I hesitate to even speak of Torino because it is such a hidden gem. I don’t want it spoiled by the masses, I want to keep it to myself.

In Turin I ate some of the best food of my life, but I’m saving all the food for a separate post.

There are a couple of train stops in Turin. Because of the winter olympics, however, they have added metro lines as well. Clean, new stations greeted us at every stop. And of course, each is beautiful in a different way and yes I took photos almost every time.

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Porta Susa

Torino is an ancient city located in the foothills of the alps. Home to the medieval Savoy duchy and the modern Italian car industry, it’s a city that maintains its relevance and charm throughout changing times.

Torino means little bull. I know that, but it was still a surprise to turn a corner and see this painted bull. For a moment I wondered if I was back in Texas. What a fun correlation!

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Torino means the little bull.

As Turin is the home to the Italian auto industry (think Fiat, Lancia, and Alpha Romeo) I found evidence of car culture subtly embedded everywhere.

Our hotel was part of an old Fiat factory. The renovations were sleek and modern but everything had a subtle automotive theme. Even the potted plants were in old tires.

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Car capital theme taken all the way.

I love all the porticos in Torino. They are absolutely everywhere. We think of them as being classically Italian, but while other cities have only a handful porticos, Torino wrote the book on these beauties. The weather in Turin can get rather gnarly so these things totally make sense to protect from the elements.

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Porticos are just as practical and romantic as you can imagine.

If more malls looked like this I could totally see myself as a shopper:

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Galleria San Federico

The Savoy family valued art, so their castles and other buildings supported that love of beauty. I could have spent all day in a single piazza, but this is Italy so you stumble across a different pizza every few steps. Each is beautiful. And as the sun moved across the sky and illuminated the buildings differently I wanted to take all my photos over again.

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Piazza Castello

One of the things that struck me so profoundly was the intersection between ancient and old and modern. Let’s take Palazzo Madama for example. The two towers date back to the early Roman outpost, although they’ve been updated. The Savoys added to the original building, and in the shot below you can also see 21st century Torinese doing some work on the street. Here in North America we tear down the old to build atop. I love the Italian ethic of making work what they have and adding to it. The eclectic end result is beautiful to me on a level much more profound than aesthetic.

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Palazzo Madama

We were walking down a street and my husband said casually, “oh I think this is where I saw that doctor.” As I looked up I saw the Duomo. It’s so crazy to me that such pedantic things are nestled in with such beauty. (The sun shining on the dome certainly helped the effect.)

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Duomo di Torino

The setting sun was magic that night. Piazzas we had previously walked through, appreciated, and admired, were literally in a different light as we passed again and saw the sun hit the buildings differently.

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Palazzo Reale

I could live in Turin. It was too soon before we had to get on the train and head south. I will find a way to live there. But until then I will hold tightly to my memories.

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Porta Nuova

So while I’d rather Torino not be overrun by tourists, I want you, my friends, to know that you should definitely check it out. But don’t tell your friends about it because someday I’m going to live here and I’d rather it not be ruined by the masses.

Until next time, Torino. I adore you.

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