Turin and its surroundings – in the footsteps of Umberto Eco
I visited Turin with my friends during a weekend trip to Italy. I hadn’t actually planned to visit this city earlier, but when it turned out it was on the way we decided to look there.
At first glance, you can see that this is one of the biggest cities in Italy. Between 1861 and 1864 it was even the capital for a while. However, architecture, driving habits, and people’s behavior are far from typical Italian culture. In my opinion, Turin is a more elegant and peaceful city.
Turin is mainly associated with the football club – Juventus, Shroud of Turin and Fiat. However, that’s not all, this city is also famous for its excellent coffee and chocolate. This is where the famous Italian coffee Lavazza and gianduja – chocolate and walnut paste, later known as Nutella, were born. As a matter of fact politics contributed to the creation of gianduja. As a result of the English cocoa embargo during the Napoleonic Wars, Turin chocolate makers decided to mix chocolate with hazelnuts. Additionally, being in Turin also try delicious bicerin – delicious coffee with chocolate and whipped cream.
Bicerin and excellent chocolate can be tried in many elegant Turin cafes like Caffè San Carlo and Caffè Torino in Piazza San Carlo.
The city center is created by two squares: Piazza Castello and Piazetta Reale. There you can see the most important historical buildings like Palazzo Madama or Palazzo Reale di Torino – Royal Palace.
Turin is also an important religious center. Here is the chapel of Turin Shroud. You can see it in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Although the opinions about the authenticity of the shroud are divided, this place is visited by many faithful. However don’t expect that you’ll see it there, once in a while the Pope decides about exposing the Shroud to the public view. Supposedly you will be able to see it in 2025.
Near to the chapel of The Shroud you can see Porta Palatina – the ruins of the Roman gate from the 1st century. Originally it was the only entrance to the city which used to be surrounded by high walls.
Less than 40 kilometers from Turin there’s a certain amazing place that inspired Umberto Eco’s to write a book: ′′ The Name of the Rose “. It’s the Benedictine Abbey of Sacra di San Michele Sant’Ambrogio di Torino, located in an amazing scenery, on top of Mount Pirchiriano.
It’s not surprising that the Abbey was a good inspiration for Umberto Eco’s to write a criminal novel. The only way to the abbey leads up high, steep stairs of the Scalone del Morti -“Stairway of the Dead”, named after the skeletons of the dead monks who ′′ adorned ′′ this road.
Amazing impression of the abbey’s interior, red brick, limited light access and a small amount of decorations, make this place very raw and cold.
The biggest impression, however, is the panoramic view that spreads from the top of the abbey.
Sacra di San Michele is the perfect place for a day trip from Turin. The views on the spot are amazing, and the harsh interior and thick, high walls of the abbey for sure will give you creeps.
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