|Gotta have dogs!|
Gran Madre de Dio church, so imposing from the outside, is tiny, really. You step inside, and there you are just a few rows from the altar. I like it. Nice and intimate once you're inside. Formal, still - you're not buddies with the Madonna -but it doesn't have that way of making you feel insignificant that so many grand churches have. And it isn't freezing cold, either.
Up the hill that overlooks Torino from the east is the Villa della Regina. The Queen's house. Visiting this grand mansion (why is this one not a palazzo? It's certainly palacial), with its elaborate out-buildings and fountains, is free, and free of crowds today. Interesting outbuildings - they don't have any rooms, just open-air spaces for the collection of monumental statuary, with terraces for lunching with visiting countesses or dancing in the evening to a string quartet, while servants circulate with champagne.
After the Villa I walk down the river Po. Downstream of the Via Po bridge, the graffiti isn't as interesting, but the far bank is much greener, and the heron I spotted from the bridge decides me. It would be a very nice walk if everything didn't stink of piss and stagnant water.
|Somebody wrote out pi, for blocks and blocks, until they ran out of wall.|
On the way back toward the Via Po, in search of a light lunch before hopping a tram to see where it goes, I notice two things. One is that someone has written out pi stretching out several blocks, a few hundred digits. The other is that my shoulder bag is about to have a disaster. The stitching connecting the shoulder strap is starting to give way on one end. That kind of thing only accelerates, as the weight of the bag shifts to a single stitch, then to the next one. There are handbags a-plenty in Italy - I only hope to come across the right one before the strap gives way entirely.
Land of fashion, you might say; easily done. But I'm difficult with bags. I like a wide strap to wear across my body, in order to avoid back pain when hauling oversized loads. Today that means camera + long lens + book + water + miscellaneous purse stuff. Other days it might mean book + groceries, or book + a pile of M2 reports. This pack-animal style of mine is, of course, not at all fashionable.
So we'll see.
Grazing for lunch starts off with a chunk of thick foccacia with olives and bits of sausage, then farther down the street a plate of pasta with pesto. I can never resist pesto - I passed the sidewalk cafe with this on the menu and started thinking yes, next pesto I see I'll stop. Two blocks and half a dozen eateries later, no pesto in evidence, so I turned around. And a glass of white wine with that. You never know what you'll get at some cheap semi-fast cafe, but the wine and the pasta are wonderful.
Walking on after lunch, I'm quite close to the museum with the Turin Shroud. I'm not normally a fan of religious relics, but I followed some of the scientific analyses they did on it, trying to authenticate it. There's really no way to know who was wrapped in the shroud, but it would be interesting to see it myself.
If it's on display.
If I can find the place.
Oh yes, here it is. Closed until 3.
Let's see where the tram goes.
The first tram I come to, I'm on it. It's going somewhere called Vittorio, which turns out to be not very interesting at all. Just big apartment blocks and small shops. I wanted to see some of regular, people who live here, Turin, and here it is. On the other hand, I did spy a stop I've got to make. Would never ever have seen it otherwise.
On the way back up the line, I realize that the tickets I bought in the metro are not for the busses or trams. The tram is surprisingly expensive, too. Not that I can't afford 2.50, but that's really a lot for any city I've been to, unless you're going way way out to th suburbs. Oh, and look, there's a guy working his way down the car, checking tickets. Great. No way to get past him and buy one now.
My stop really is the next one. The ticket checker makes his way slowly toward me, and as we pull up to my stop he's talking to the woman next to me. I excuse myself to get past them, and step out. No problem.
What intrigued me was this abandoned factory sort of building, though I think now it was never any sort of factory. There are giant pillars holding up a high, translucent roof, and then farther on but not under the roof, a series of parallel walls holding up nothing. Under the roof there are stairways, and a catwalk the whole lenght. It's odd, and it's covered with bright, glorious graffiti. Indeed, it seems to be an invitation to graffiti. Under the covered part there's a small skate park, and some basketball hoops, then a place for kids to play. Along the walls are paths for strolling, and between those, flowerbeds.
It's all open and inviting and colorful, and seems to have something to do with the Olympic Games recently held here. Glad I stopped by.