Torino - The Palace City

Trip Start Sep 08, 2007
Trip End Apr 30, 2008

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

So as many of you are aware I'm supposed to be studying here in Torino, but have been rather busy hopping about the countryside so I hadn't actually gotten to see a great deal of the city.  Enter Steph, who is here visiting me for a bit, who finally gave me good reason to get out and see a bit of this town I'm "living" in.

When I say Torino, city of palaces, it's basically because the whole place feels like it has been built to resemble a palace. It was, in fact, a capital at varying points during Italy's recent history i.e. 16-18th centuries. As such, it was built with a great deal grandeur, with huge marble columns and sprawling piazzas a fairly regular site. As such, it's bit bizarre to wander through these streets as a student and to think that it's now just a normal city with normal folk living - although I would definitely not call it (at least not the city centre) an "industrial" city, a title given it due to the proximity of Fiat and various other industrial activities. Torino has a tremendous amount to see, and I surely have not seen even a small fraction of it!  Steph and I managed to do a great deal of wandering, and even made it to the Gates of Hell (no, seriously, legend has it that the Gates of Hell are located beneath a point to the north of the city's centre). The Mole Antonelliana, which was apparently supposed to have been a synagogue, is very impressive and serves as the city's symbol - I can actually see it from my window!
   Steph and I wandered around that and of course along the Po River, an impressive waterway that rumbles by the city and divides it to the south.

We also went up and down Via Roma, the city's main thoroughfare where most of the major shops are and of course we found numerous places to eat and grab a quick cafe.  While I'm definitely going to be in and out of the city frequently for other travels, I definitely am still struck by the many columns and baroque facades throughout the city, and continue to wonder at its impressiveness and how its historical face meets modern living.
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