We have come to the end of our Italian journey. However, before we say good bye to Italy, for this time, a comment or two must be made about the last two cities we visited – Milano and Torino. The purpose in taking the group to these cities was as diverse as the cities themselves. Turin saw our school pilgrimage come full circle while Milan became the pinnacle of consumer decadence and artistic grandeur.
Turin is a beautiful city. The pedestrian promenades are lined with exclusive shops but really this is not why one comes to Turin. For without the rich baroque architecture and the dynamic piazzas, Turin would be another soulless sprawling city, peddling its labels. Visiting the Reale Palazzo – entry gratis – the home of the Savoia family, one can understand why the revolutions of the mid 19th century occurred. It is grand indulgence, grand decadence and grand opulence outdoing itself in every grand room. From the immense crystal chandeliers, I counted at least twenty, to the museum and trophy room where the spoils of the hunt are immortalized alongside the fine embalmed horses in full galloping gait preserves a glimpse of a dynasty and points in history long gone. A spectacle which one must see if visiting Turin.
Next door and just beyond the gates of the palazzo is the small chapel of Saint Lorenzo. This heavy, dark place of worship contains a replica of the shroud of Turin. Certainly there has been much debate as to the original’s authenticity, however, carbon dating in the 1990’s apparently revealed it was of the 12th C. Nevertheless, it, and the adjoining displays of crucifixion torture, are equally indicative of a cruel time as well as being an icon for faith.
Speaking of which, our young travelers had predominantly come to Turin to visit the Casa De Madre of the Salesian Order, Valdocco. We spent most of the morning here learning about the work of Don Bosco and his legacy, that of educating the person through a charism of faith and kindness. Our students were really able to appreciate the vastness of his mission and indeed witnessed a practice Mass at the Basillica for future missionaries. Milan, is a different story and worthy of its own post.
Check out, Caffe Torino images!