Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Forgotten Pearl - Turin & The Holy Shroud

Turin always gave me the impression that it was a dull industry city, with boring, pollution infected stone houses. A visit on Saturday changed my view completely.

Turin is lively and lovely. The city is laid out in rectangle grids, easy to navigate. From the train station Torino Porta Nouva to Piazza Carlo and Piazza Castello is one straight road.

Shops line up the Via Roma and Via Po, tourists as well as the locals shopping happily :D There is a lot more local life here.

Turin also has the best tourist information. They provide you with detailed maps so that you can explore the city to the fullest. It is obvious they take great pride of their own city, when I told them I would only stay in Turin for one day, they were agast. Two days is a minimum, according to them, and I fully agreed after my hasty day trip. There is so much to discover in this city of great history.

Museo Egizio is one of the rare that has English captions for their exhibites, other than the fact that they are the 3rd biggest museum of Egyptian culture and archeological finds, behind the museum in Cairo and the Bristish museum.

The Baroque palaces and piazzas would impress any visitor for their grandeur, fine workmanship, and architectural excellence.

Of course, no visit to Turin will be complete without a visit to the Holy Shroud of Turin.

The shroud is housed in a lackluster-looking duomo of Torino. If I did see flocks of tourists always walking in this direction and curiosity got the better of me, I would have missed this place completely. I find that the buildings in Torino in general look very ordinary, if not run-down from the outside, but the inside usually are hidden grandeurs.

The interior of the Duomo is not that grand, neither. It is hard to believe this was also the duomo where the royal family of Italy patroned and attended the Sunday mass. I am not sure whether the fire in 1997 was the cause of the current state of the duomo.

The shroud chamber is now located under the royal box where the Royal Savoy family used to sit. This is a new chamber, the old had been completely destroyed in the fire in 1997. It is ok to put the shroud under the royal box, as nobody will sit there any more since the King had been in exile in Portugal since 1946.

But is the real shroud being stored here? I am not sure. A replica is displayed in the chamber, and a new conservation & display case is shown covered by a cloth which bears the sign of the Passion of the Christ.

More information about the shroud can be found here.

Tourist Information:

It is advisable to buy the Torino card. A two-day pass costs 18.00 euros, which covers most of the museums, and tourist attractions, plus public transport in the city and its suburbs.

Palazzo Madama 6.50 euros
Palazzo Reale 6.50 euros
Museo Egizio 8.00 euros
Mole Antonelliana 6.80 euros
Armeria Reale 4.00 euros
Total: 31.80 euros
Comparing with the 18.00 euros cost, it is a pretty good deal.

No comments:

Post a Comment