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Torino--My New Hometown

Just a taste...

By Steven AnthonyPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Torino, Piemonte, Italia (photo by author)

Torino (Turin) sits in northwestern Italy, at the foot of the Alps. It is the capital city of the Piemonte Region—Piemonte meaning foot of the mountains. The history of Torino goes back thousands of years while my history with the bella città only goes back about three.

There are still some remnants of the ancient Roman era visible around town. My favorite is the Porta Palatina, that dates back to about the year 1. Yes—it’s an old city!

La Porta Palatina and part of the original city wall, circa 1 CE (photo by author)

Turin is where the King of Piemonte lived, before Italy unified (in 1861). After unification, it’s where the King of Italy lived. That explains why there are so many palaces around the city—seems each new king wanted to make their own impression on the city. One of my favorites is Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi (The Little Hunting Palace of Stupinigi). I guess when you are the King, this is little.

The Hunting Palace (photo by author)

Inside Stupinigi (photo by author)

There are quite a few churches in Torino. One notable church is that of Santuario della Consolata. It has a cannonball lodged in one wall. The most famous church here is the Turin Cathedral—home of the Shroud of Turin.

Cannonball Church (photo by author)

Home of the Shroud of Turin (photo by author)

Torino is home to two soccer clubs, FC Torino and Juventus. I’ve yet to go to a game, but it’s on my list of things to do. I’m not a huge soccer fan, but I’d still like to have the experience.

The architecture here is mixed, but since the kings are from the French House of Savoy, there is a distinct French flavor to many buildings as well as city planning in general—Torino has many broad, tree-lined boulevards that remind me of Paris. One of the city’s, and Italy’s, most famous architects is Alessandro Antonelli (1798 – 1888). I happen to live on a street named for him, but not in one of his buildings. One of his buildings is referred to as The Slice of Polenta. It was built as part of an architecture challenge, and to prove it wouldn’t collapse, the architect lived there, with his wife, for a couple of years. The front face of the building is about 16 feet across, with the back a mere 16 inches!

Fetta di Polenta - Slice of Polenta: Front View (photo by author)

Fetta di Polenta: Back View (photo by author)

His most famous building, an Italian icon, is the Mole Antonelliana. When it was built (late 1880s) it was the tallest brick building in the world. Designed initially as a synagogue, it has served many purposes and is now home to the National Film Museum.

La Mole Antonelliana (photo by author)

And by night... (photo by author)

Torino is also home to the Egyptian Museum—considered the most important collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo. It’s also one of the most visited museums in Italy.

From the Museo Egizio, Torino (photo by author)

In addition to the palaces, museums and landmarks, Torino has piazzas all over the city. One of my favorites by day or night is Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Every time I see it I try to imagine life here back in the mid 1800s when the buildings forming the piazza were built. It was originally named after King Vittorio Emanuele I of Savoy. But it was renamed Vittorio Veneto in 1920 to commemorate the battle that essentially ended Italy’s involvement in WWI.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto is across the bridge (photo by author)

Piazza Vittorio at night (photo by author)

Torino was also an industrial city and was considered the Detroit of Italy. Indeed, FIAT was headquartered in Torino. In fact, FIAT is an acronym for Fabrica Italia Automobile Torino. While the new version of the FIAT 500 is popular in the US, I’m not sure how many Americans have ever seen the original. The famed car design firm Pininfarina—designers of dozens of models of FIATs, Ferrari and Alfo Romeo is also based in Torino.

The original FIAT 500

Here's a fun video comparing the new 500 to the original: Click!

Italians love espresso, but you typically won’t find it on the menu at an Italian café. You’ll find many different variations of coffee—cappuccino, caffè latte, caffè macchiato, to name but a few. You won’t find espresso because it’s all espresso. When Italians want a shot of espresso, they just ask for “un caffè, per favore.” One of the biggest coffee brands is Lavazza—and its home is Torino.

The remains of a Lavazza cappuccino (photo by author)

A breakfast consisting of a cappuccino and a brioche is civilized way to start the day. If the brioche is filled with Nutella, so much the better. The original hazelnut and chocolate spread, gianduia, was invented in Torino at the turn of the 19th century.

The breakfast of Italian champions! (photo by author)

And that’s just a taste of Torino—my new hometown. I hope you enjoyed it!


About the Creator

Steven Anthony

American author now living in Italy. My book, BE LEAN! Revealing the Long-Lost Secrets of Weight Management, is available on Amazon.

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