Turin is a city of marvels! In just one day, we visited ancient Egypt and Rome, the glittering gold of Cathedrals and Palaces. Also, the fashions and flavours of Via Roma!
We hired a car at Turin airport and drove across the city to the luxurious Turin Palace Hotel for a two night visit. Trip Advisor has just awarded this Hotel as the ‘best hotel in Italy’ and ‘third best hotel in the world’. (See my article ‘Best Hotel in Italy – Turin Palace Hotel). As a result, we had one full day of ‘accidentally cultured’ discoveries in Turin. But, the Shroud of Turin was top of my list!
I decided Turin Cathedral was a good place to begin. It is quite a long walk from our Hotel to the Cathedral and its plain exterior façade made me wonder if it was the Cathedral.
But entering the Holy Door, the interior opens up into majestic golden splendour filled with an abundance of Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces. On both sides of the nave there are many side Chapels, all worthy of contemplation, and heaps of photographs.
To the left of the apse, is the Chapel of the Holy Shroud and the Shroud really is kept here in the lower tribune section of the Royal Tribune shown in the photograph below. It is conserved in a glass and aluminium urn five metres long and protected by a large casket covered by red embroidered cloth. You can see the image of the face of Jesus seen on the cloth below!
It took some time to visit all the Chapels. But at 12 pm, just as I was trying to photograph an extremely golden Virgin Mary, known as the ‘Large Madonna’, all the lights went out. So, with the Cathedral closed for siesta, we decided to visit ancient Egypt.
The photo below shows a section of the Egyptology Museum. The numerous glass cabinets are filled with artefacts and this is just one of the four floors!
It took us hours to work our way through four floors of exhibits. It is no exaggeration that there is something like 6500 objects on display and a further 26 000 in storage. I decided to sketch artefacts that caught my attention, and we took heaps of photographs as well. A mummy peaking out from the sarcophagus below, caught my attention as we became totally lost in the magic spell of Egypt’s understanding of life after death. Amazing when compared with our previous encounter with the beliefs of Christianity. In the Cafe Museum we relieved our exhaustion with a tasty focaccia, coffee and tiramisu.
Being gluttons for punishment we then headed for the Royal Palace. This Palace is the most sumptuous we have even seen. I would say it surpasses any of the English, French and Danish Palaces we have visited. I have never seen so many gold embossed walls, doors, ceilings, and furnishings. Every ceiling was painted like the Sistine Chapel and the walls abounded with Renaissance style paintings, tapestries and chandeliers. The sumptuous nature of this Palace is evident in the picture of the throne room shown below.
Here is a picture of the enormous hall filled with mounted horses and models of men dressed in all manner of armour and weaponry.
Royal Palace Art Collection
Exhausted as we were, we pressed on to see the art collection at the Palace – all four floors! The collection ranged from ancient Roman artefacts excavated beneath the Palace to many of my favourite artists, like Elizabeth Vigée le Brun, Artemesia Gentileschi and more besides. I have never seen a collection like this before!
Via Roma Shops
Heading off into the evening light, I could not resist the fabulous fashions of Via Roma. So I bought a nice new pair of leggings. There are many amazing restaurants in Turin, but they seem to open after 7 pm. Too hungry to wait we found a restaurant with Sicilian wine and a heap of mussels immersed in bacon and saffron.
There is heaps more to see in Turin than our one day would allow. So we are hoping for another visit!