Taking it in: A day in Turin
By John P Brady
When morning came I left the hostel in search of coffee and a train timetable. I had booked a room in Florence for that night and now a 5 hour train journey ominously awaited me. I had six hours to explore the fine city of Turin.
The first building of note that appeared in the approach to central Turin was Porta Nuova, the train station in Piazza Carlo Felice. It is a large building that stands out greatly from the others on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. [Since the unification of Italy, which occurred gradually during the mid-1800’s, most Italian towns have place names dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II, Garibaldi, Cavour and so on.]
I ate some fine pizza near the small church of Santa Maria en route towards the cathedral, Il Duomo di Torino. Walking down the pleasant streets of Turin, eating fresh strawberries from a punnet, under clear blue skies and radiant sunshine, one cannot but be moved by the splendour of Italy.
Turin is known for many things, it was the place that Italian unity was officially declared in 1861; it has famous French themed architecture; it has an important university and a famous soccer team.
It is possibly best known, however, for the Shroud of Christ, the cloth which is believed to have been used to wrap the body of Christ when he was taken from the cross at Calvary. [There are many debates regarding its authenticity, which I will not add to].
When I came upon the splendid piazza of the cathedral I overheard some tourists asking the polizia: where should they go to see the famous Shroud of Turin? “You want to see the shroud?!” they laughed. “It is put on display every ten years, and the last time was one year ago. You will have to wait a long time!” These disappointed tourists had invariably failed to research their trip comprehensively.
The train would leave soon for Florence, and so I returned to pick up my bags and face the inevitable chaos of an Italian train station. A new breed of Italian is seen here, a far cry from the peaceful folk who sit in the piazza and enjoy olives and a glass of vino.
Turin was a surprising delight, full of great architecture and history. It is an often overlooked destination in Italy but mistakenly so, for it has so much to offer tourists of all ages and interests. Just try not to arrive 9 years early to see the Shroud.
Back to the Gaff
Scandalous Narratives of Contemporary Ireland
Back to the Gaff is a book by new author John P Brady, which describes the excessive and outrageous nature of Irish night life. Meet an array of eccentric individuals who populate the bars of Dublin, living lives of decadence and abandon. Their frolics inevitably lead to a trip ‘back to the gaff,’ which in Dublin-speak means gravitating towards someone’s place of residence where the depravity continues.
Ebook and Paperback available: