Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Cradle of Italian Liberty vs. Detroit of Italy

First off, even though it's 2 days later - Happy Halloween everyone! I had class on Friday evening, which was so great and I was so happy to have class on Friday evening. Not. Anyways, I decided to venture out into the world after class and bought some baked goods at the Le Ragazze, which is a phenomenal bakery. Instead of passing, I was tempted to come inside by the witches giving out goods. Of course with no Halloween discount, nonetheless, impossible to resist. I bought a chocolate biscotti which is typical for the month of the dead. It's a bit like chocolate gingerbread with nuts in the shape of a coffin. Besides the shape reminding you everyday of what might come without notice, it's quite lovely. I myself opted to look like a Mexican sugar skull, which I was sure it was going to be original. Then I saw that I wasn't the only sugar-head. Oh well. I'm not a big fan of Halloween anyways, because like NYE, it's a crazy night filled with abominable people. It's the one time of the year when girls can dress up looking like hookers and get away with it. 

Bread of the Dead - Deliciously Deadly

My friend Petra opted to look like a biker elf. As all elves are cute, they can also be mischievous..

My other friend and schoolmate Kate, went for the kitty look, complete with fur.

As I have mentioned before, I went as a Mexican Sugar skull for 5 euro kids face paint. We decided to all skip the hooker versions of Catwoman (Marion), Pixie Elf and Kitty Kat.

The next day, I wanted to do something a bit more life-fulfilling, so I visited the nearby (1 hour is near for an American) city of Turin. "The Capital of the Alps" as it is most often referred to, was a major European political center and was in fact, Italy's first capital in 1861, before the capital became Rome in 1946 with the creation of the Italian Republic. Even though World War II greatly affected the industrial centers located in Turin, it still is part of what is called the "industrial triangle", along with Milan and Genoa. Does FIAT, Lancia or Alfa Romeo ring a bell? Let's not also forget the grand soccer teams such as Juventus F.C. and Torino F. C.  and even the 2005 Winter Olympics. Harmony and Columbus are two of the top International Space Station modules which were manufactured in Turin.

I actually do not know the name of this church. It was one of the first I saw and the architectural style was baroque. Especially inside, as you will see in the next photos.

The very typical architectural style of buildings in Turin. For the most part, all the buildings in the historical center have balconies and terraces like in Milano, but they are more colorful and have less reliefs as is common in towns closer to the Alps.
The following photos are all from inside the church. As is typical for baroque churches, everything is about 'gilding the lily'. Intricate designs and whole lot of gold!

 The main street in the center of Turin is Via Roma and is filled with shops with stands in front of them, where vendors are selling their own handmade products. The street lights remind us of the coming season of Christmas and the hectic time of shopping for gifts. That's why it's always better to buy during the year!

  Piazza Castello, On the right is the Royal Palace. Sorry no picture!
 In front of the Royal Palace, there was a protest against TAV. Currently, you can see graffiti writing saying No TAV on buildings and almost every weekend there is a protest against. TAV ("Treno ad Alta Velocita" or train at high speed) is the equivalent of the French train system TGV. During the early 90's and 00's, there has been a growing movement of protestors who criticize the creation of infrastructures for the high-speed rail system. From what I understand it is also criticizing the management of common goods, public expenditure, land and politics.

 Galleria Franco Nero is located just right off the side of the Palazzo Royale and hosts many beautiful boutiques of Italian clothes and food.

With it's own entrance located off the side of Piazza Castello, the place you must visit even for a quick espresso, is the famous Baratti & Milano (link here). With crystal chandeliers, white orchids in adorned vases, the delicately decorated sweets fits well with the atmosphere of what the imagination implies as 'sophisticated Italy'. Nonnas in fur and Chanel glasses included.

The must have drink of Turin, is the local Bicerin. As it says on the menu, it is a 'must try' and it is. The heavy and thick chocolate fits well with coffee and a topping of milk froth. I had an additional 3 mini chantilly filled pastries. The sugar crash I had on the train back wasn't too great.


 If I am not mistaken, this is the Baroque facade of Palazzo Caragnano


 Piazza San Carlo

Stratta and it's famous Gianduja. Made of sugar, peanut oil, nuts from Piemonte, cacao, powdered milk and basically tastes like your nonna italiana made homemade Nutella.

 Cavallo di Bronzo

All in all, I very much enjoyed Turin. It really is a beautiful and very sophisticated historical city with much to offer. Unfortunately I haven't been able to see everything due to the time, but I know I have to come back! 
I just might skip the sugar binge....

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