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Torino Torino!

Today Bruce, who is a lover of trains, had organized the first of our several train journeys – off on the 9.25 a.m. train to Torino – Turin, an hour away. It wasn’t warm but happily, it didn’t rain. The city is beautiful, with covered arcades everywhere and many spacious piazzas lined with elegant buildings in muted colours with ornate balconies. (Shouts echoing in this apartment building – there must be a big soccer game going on.)

We visited a fairly modern building called the Mole Antoniana, with an absurdly high tower. Bruce wanted me to see the interior of the building, so we bought a ticket to the Museum of Cinema which let us in – and turned out to be amazing in itself, vast, comprehensive, leading us from historical exhibits about the earliest moving pictures – shadow puppets, magic lanterns, peep shows – to an incredible central room the height of the building, with a winding path lined with screens showing cinematic history. A surprise for us both.

A quick sandwich and espresso for me, green tea for the man who used to inject caffeine into his veins, and on to Palazzo Madama, where we saw gorgeous carved wooden artworks from the Middle Ages and all I could think was … termites! – and then to the Pinocoteca in the Galeria Sebauda, where there were – you guessed it – masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance beloved by Bruce – Fra Angelico, Fra Lippo Lippe. I was happy to be introduced to one of his favourite paintings, an annunciation by Orazio Gentileschi, an angel with the most gorgeous wings and gentle face and a shy, humble Mary who just got out of bed. (click to enlarge)

A wander through the other rooms, though by now I have to say I’m Catholicked out. A million Marys and martyrs, my favourite the guy with the axe in his head – a million Crucifixions, and I can barely look at crucifixions at the best of times, I don’t understand a religion that has a device of torture and excruciating execution as its most profound symbol – and the gold leaf and the angels and naked babies – the themes get a bit worn out. It was a relief today to see a painting about the triumph of celibacy that had a pale naked woman driving a cart pulled by lions with unicorn horns. Something different – terrific.

And then – of necessity, since we were in Turin – we had to see the shroud in the Cathedral. Many Catholics whispering prayers, and there, a huge face in relief. It seemed far too large, to me, to be an actual man’s face, and the whole thing was lost on two atheists. But it was a must see, and so see we did.

Bruce was up for more – the Egyptian Museum – but I confess that by 3.30, yours truly was exhausted. I slept poorly last night, up making lists about what awaits when I return – a great deal – so after about 18,000 steps today, according to Bruce’s phone, I wanted to go back to Milan. The tickets Bruce booked from Vancouver were not till 6 p.m., but we went to the station and with the help of a ticket agent, I was happy to treat us to the 20 euros extra to put us on a train back at 4.25. We stopped for supper supplies on the way back and ate quietly in the apartment, which we leave tomorrow morning for Bologna. Avanti!

Art shot – we’re on the fifth floor, this is our staircase looking down.

Demonstration march in Torino in favour of the EU and democracy. I wanted to join them, especially as I was thinking of Anna and the boys today, demonstrating in Toronto for public education. Definitely wanted to be there.

The cinema museum – the writer’s room, the script for Psycho.

 The extraordinary central room, which is much higher than my little camera can show.

 One of the montages we happened upon – the strange creature turned slowly toward us to the music from 2001 – spooky and fun.

The view from the top of the Madama. I can see Mozart emerging into that piazza.

Mr. Kellett surveying baroque art, of which he does not approve. And me either.

The shroud. Lost on us. But we are grateful to the Catholic church which provided some of the greatest artists the world has ever known with subjects and commissions.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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