Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Turin; city of magic, holy clothes and feathered hats

Turin is considered a "city of magic."  And magic is cool right?  So this is one of the final destinations this tour guide is taking my parents.  Turin is allegedly one of the three vertexes of the triangle of white magic (with Prague and Lyon), and of the triangle of black magic (with London and San Francisco).  I have visited Turin once before and I found it quite interesting. Nostradamus was a french medical professional that is famous for predicting many major world events and he once lived here. So it must be cool?  By the way, he has predicted that we will all be affected by a comet December 2012, and apparently I will visit Turin with my parents on a day that 100 000 other residents of Italy will visit.

The President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, was in town to attend a ceremony this morning to celebrate 150 years of unification in representing the founding of the Italian army.  I must admit that I was a little slow to pick up on the clues that there was a special event on. 
A few things should of given it away...
  • The roads were baracaded and police presence was high.
  • There were Italian flags hanging out on the balcony of every apartment.
  • The fact that we were continuely swarmed by passing flocks of school students.
  • All of the shop windows were littered with Italian shirts, magnets, snow globes and flags.
  • All of the jewellery stores were selling red, green and white merchandise.
  • The army tanks rolling down the street, (yeh, still did not find this overly odd, duh!)
  • The marching band.
  • The large erected grandstand infront of the castle.... mmm maybe there is something special going on today?
  • The fact that half of the attending crowd all had feathers in their hats.

    Ceremony outside the castle
  • Flag being hung on a balcony
    Italian jewellery for sale
Army tankers travelling up main street

At lunch we finally asked the waitress what was happening and she let us know of the special visitor and apparently the whole year so far has been crazy due to the fact that Turin is the official place of celebration to mark the 150 years of unification. I later found out that the Bersaglieri are a corps of the Italian Army that later became the Royal Italian Army. They can be recognized by the distinctive wide brimmed hat that they wear (only in dress uniform in modern times), decorated with black capercaillie feathers.  "My feathers are bigger than your feathers!"  We definitely saw some different hats, to me they looked Austrian, I was almost waiting for some knee slap dancing.
Hats typical of the day

There is always that one person that has to add that one feather too much!

Lunch in Piazza Bodoni

Enjoying the view, food and vino

Making sure the gelati is really gone

Turins claim to fame is more than likely 'The Shroud of Turin' (the holy cloth).  It is rarely on public display but you can see the chest where it is stored when visiting the city cathedral.  Strangely enough you can take photos of the church, but you are not allowed to take a photo of the box it is in. But luckily enough you can  lay your eyes on the holy sheet when the Pope decides to put it on display, next scheduled appearance... 2025. So you have plenty of time to organise flights, or it may just be easier to look at it on the internet?

An overview of Turin:
  • Host of the 2006 Winter Olympics
  • Capital of the Piedmont region of Italy
  • Fourth largest city in Italy
  • The home of Fiat, founded in 1899
  • The capital of Italy's car industry
  • The city has a long tradition of producing fine chocolate, and showcases this in its many chocolate shops, yum, yum!

Gold chair inside the Church of the Santissima Annunziata

First stages of acupuncture or a deterrent for pooping birds?
 IF Important Fact
Legend has it that the Holy Grail is also buried in the city, (dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers).

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