Weekend in Torino

Weekend in Torino

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I have had Skype calls with Massimiliano for a year. Each week at the appointed hour (11:30 California time and 8:30 Italian time) we talked for an hour. We are friends but had never met one another. I had a plan to go Torino (Turin) a month ago but the week before the planned trip, his father took a turn for the worst. He, the father, has had cancer for almost three years and this looked like the end. The doctors thought that he would die in 2 or 3 days but in fact it took almost 2 weeks for him to finally make his final exit. For Max it was, I think, a relief. He wrote me that it was hard visiting his father who was down to 40 kilos (about 90 pounds). So 2 weeks later I completed the visit. I think that it was a relief for the family and we talked about it some at dinner the first night there.

The next day, Saturday we first took a look at the little hunting lodge for the Savoy royals as shown above. Click on the photo to really appreciate the size. Then we took a walk in the park that runs along the Po river. A great park with another couple of royal residences and a castle in which a medieval village has been assembled from pieces and parts brought from other places (a tourist trap in truth). We then had a great lunch at his apartment. His wife, Laura is really a good cook and there were 3 or 4 courses. Then we were off to watch his son Alessandro play soccer. Alex is 8 years old and it was really fun watching the kids play. In fact I learned more about the game watching them than I had watching the pros. They play with only 5 players on each side with a field less than half the size a full soccer field and with shorter periods of play. Alex’s team won by a score of 8 to 2 so half of the assembled parents and family were happy and the others, not so much.

We dropped off Laura and Alex at the apartment and headed toward town. Given the parking difficulties in any big city we parked near the end of the subway line and took that into town. Here the city is more interesting but seems more French than Italian. Broad boulevards and stately buildings and … the Egyptian Museum. Second only to the museum in Cairo. We stopped off at the Caffe’  Torino. It’s relatively new, it opened in 1903 and I treated Massimiliano to a bicerin. If you take a look at their website (click here) we were seated just in front of the staircase.

We all had pizza (for the second time) for dinner and Massimiliano said that he could it pizza for breakfast if his wife would let him. The next morning was a highlight of the trip for me. We went to the Automobile Museum of Torino. Wow, what a collection! The oldest car was french and steam powered with a top speed of 3 km/hour. We went through the whole thing and I was amazed that we were there for 2 hours because I was quite absorbed in the whole thing. By the way, Alex is a huge fan of cars and can’t get enough of them.

Then back to the apartment for lunch with his mother, the queen of lasagna, as well as other assorted good things to eat. I should have photographed the food but was too busy eating.


Alex had another soccer game that, unfortunately, had been rescheduled for later in the day so Max dropped me of at the Lingotto station for the subway. Lingotto was a factory for Fiat that was closed many years ago and has been converted into the largest mall and office space that I’ve ever seen.  You really need to click on the photo to get an idea of the scale of the former factory. Still, a mall is a mall and not all that interesting. Click here to learn a bit more about FIAT and Lingotto I took a walk around and then headed off to the catch the train back to Bologna.

Not much else to say other than it really was a pleasant weekend with Max and family and especially the auto museum. My mind and mouth were both tired from speaking Italian the whole weekend. One footnote: I told a couple of Carabinieri jokes to a Caribinieri. If you don’t know about Caribinieri jokes click here for a sample.

2 Responses to “Weekend in Torino”

  1. Jamie P. Says:

    Ciao, Joe!
    What a great trip! How wonderful to finally meet your ‘Skype pal’ and his family!

    Where can I get one of those bronze elk for the top of our house?? 🙂

    We survived Halloween here. I find Halloween the most exhausting of the holidays here. Mostly because Lucia wants it to last for days and days… decorating the front of the house for the trick-or-treaters, going to her class party, volunteering at the school carnival (I worked at the dunk tank), handing out candy to the early arriving goblins, and then walking Lucia around the neighborhood so that she could collect her fair share of the sugar loot.

    Grazie mille for the posts, as always.

  2. Joe Says:


    They probably models of that elk somewhere in Torino. You’ll just have to visit yourself to get one. Sounds like an all around great Halloween. BTW Halloween has migrated to Italy complete with trick-or-treat but the words are different, – “dolcetto o scherzetto”.


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